Re: ganglia identification in colonoscopy biopsies

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From:"J. A. Kiernan" <>
To:"Sebree Linda A." <>
Date:Thu, 2 Sep 1999 12:15:00 -0400 (EDT)
Content-Type:TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

> One of our pathologists has asked us to find a way to identify the presence
> of ganglia in frozen sections of colon biopsies.  Colonoscopy is performed
> to identify Hirschsprung's disease.  The idea is to sample sections of colon
> and perform quick stains to access the presence or absence of ganglia.  I
> don't know of any immunohistochemistry procedure that can be done within the
> 30-45 minutes time frame.  All of the biopsies would be assessed while the
> patient is on the O.R. table.
> So....does anyone out there know of a histochemical, enzyme or
> immunohistochemical procedure that could be used?

   I haven't looked at biopsies, but in ordinary sections of colon
   the ganglia show up well with any general-purpose staining
   method. Iron-haematoxylin and van Gieson shows them very well.
   A simple basic dye such as toluidine blue at pH 3 to 4 stains
   the neuronal cytoplasm. Ganglia are present in the submucosa
   (surrounded by quite dense collagen) and between the circular
   and longitudinal muscle layers. They are more conspicuous in
   longitudinal than in transverse sections, but I don't suppose 
   you have much control of the orientation of a little biopsy.

 John A. Kiernan,
 Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology,
 The University of Western Ontario,
 LONDON,  Canada  N6A 5C1

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