Neurochemical coding of the enteric nervous system in chagasic patients with megacolon

A. B.M. Da Silveira, D. D'Avila Reis, E. C. De Oliveira, S. G. Neto, A. O. Luquetti, D. Poole, R. Correa-Oliveira, J. B. Furness

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43 Citations (Scopus)


Neuronal destruction has been considered the hallmark of pathogenic mechanisms in chagasic megacolon. Characterization of neuropeptides in the enteric nervous system from chagasic patients with megacolon could elucidate some aspects of the development of this syndrome. In the present work we demonstrate the changes in expression of neuropeptides and neurochemical markers present in neuronal plexuses from the colons of chagasic patients with megacolon. Sections of frozen tissue samples were immunohistochemically labeled for anticalretinin, cChaT, substance P, VIP, NOS, and NPY. Immunoreactivity was observed using a confocal microscope. Our results demonstrate that in chagasic patients with megacolon, inhibitory motor neurons (VIP and NOS immunoreactive) are preferentially destroyed by Trypanosoma cruzi and/or the inflammatory process. These results suggest a selective destruction of enteric neurons in the colon of chagasic patients with megacolon, pointing to an important discovery in the mechanism of pathogenesis of Chagas' disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2877-2883
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2007


  • Chagas' disease
  • Chagasic megacolon
  • Enteric nervous system
  • Neurochemical markers
  • Neuropeptides

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