Selective survival of calretinin- and vasoactive-intestinal-peptide-containing nerve elements in human chagasic submucosa and mucosa
This study was made with the objective of reevaluating the colon denervation in chronic Chagas' disease. The diameters of neuron perikaryons of the myenteric plexus were measured on paraffin sections in a ring from the sigmoid in Chagas' disease patients, 17 with and 10 without megacolon and in 10 non-chagasic controls. All neurons were counted in ten en-echelon sections. Neuron hypertrophy only occurred in the group with megacolon, and the average increase in diameter was 69.3%. This could generate an error factor in the neuron count by increasing the probability of neurons being seen in a greater number of histological sections. The original result of the neuron count gave medians of 1264, 1961, and 2665 in the groups of chagasic patients with megacolon, without megacolon, and in the control, respectively. The denervation was greater than 55% in only seven megacolon cases (41.2%). After applying a correction factor, the median in the group with megacolon was 746, and the denervation was greater than 55% in 13 cases (76.5%). This occurrence demonstrates the need to apply a correction factor when the neuron count in chagasic megacolon is being evaluated and in the other pathologies where neuron hypertrophy may be found.