Intestinal inertia is a severe form of gut dysmotility that may require surgical resection. Loss of myenteric ganglion cells has been proposed as a possible etiology. Preclinical models have also suggested that virus infection-associated ganglionitis may be an alternative pathogenic factor. We determined to the extent intestinal inertia is associated with the lack of myenteric ganglion cells or ganglionitis using resection specimens from 27 intestinal inertia and 28 colon cancer patients. A hot spot approach with 5 HPFs was used for quantifying inflammatory cells. CD3, CD8, and CD20 immunohistochemistry was used to quantify T and B lymphocytes, along with subtyping the T-lymphocyte population by CD8. None of the intestinal inertia nor control cases showed the absence of myenteric ganglion cells. A total of 15 (55.6#x00025;) of the intestinal inertia cases showed inflammatory cell infiltration in the myenteric ganglion cells, compared with only 1 of 28 (3.6#x00025;) control cases (P#x0003C;0.0001 by Fisher exact test). The inertia cases with inflammatory infiltrates were all associated predominantly with lymphocytes, including 3 cases (11.1#x00025;) with concurrent eosinophil infiltration, and 1 case (3.7#x00025;) with concurrent neutrophil infiltration. Furthermore, all 15 inertia cases with myenteric lymphocytic ganglionitis were associated with T lymphocytes (100#x00025;), including 1 case with a subset of concurrent B lymphocytes. The average CD3 count was 3.8 cells/HPF. CD8 immunohistochemical stain showed positive staining in 12 of the 15 cases (80#x00025;) with CD8-positive cells ranging from 1 to 8/HPF. In contrast, the only control case with lymphocytic ganglionitis showed mixed B and T lymphocytes and eosinophils. The high prevalence of T-lymphocyte infiltration in the myenteric ganglion in intestinal inertia cases suggests a possible pathogenic role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1137-1142
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • CD20
  • CD3
  • CD8
  • dysmotility
  • ganglionitis
  • virus


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