Effect of age on the enteric nervous system of the human colon

C. E. Bernard, S. J. Gibbons, P. J. Gomez-Pinilla, M. S. Lurken, P. F. Schmalz, J. L. Roeder, David R Linden, R. R. Cima, Eric Dozois, David Larson, Michael Camilleri, A. R. Zinsmeister, M. J. Pozo, G. A. Hicks, Gianrico Farrugia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

102 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The effect of age on the anatomy and function of the human colon is incompletely understood. The prevalence of disorders in adults such as constipation increase with age but it is unclear if this is due to confounding factors or age-related structural defects. The aim of this study was to determine number and subtypes of enteric neurons and neuronal volumes in the human colon of different ages. Normal colon (descending and sigmoid) from 16 patients (nine male) was studied; ages 33-99. Antibodies to HuC/D, choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), and protein gene product 9.5 were used. Effect of age was determined by testing for linear trends using regression analysis. In the myenteric plexus, number of Hu-positive neurons declined with age (slope = -1.3 neurons/mm/10 years, P = 0.03). The number of ChAT-positive neurons also declined with age (slope = -1.1 neurons/mm/10 years of age, P = 0.02). The number of nNOS-positive neurons did not decline with age. As a result, the ratio of nNOS to Hu increased (slope = 0.03 per 10 years of age, P = 0.01). In the submucosal plexus, the number of neurons did not decline with age (slope = -0.3 neurons/mm/10 years, P = 0.09). Volume of nerve fibres in the circular muscle and volume of neuronal structures in the myenteric plexus did not change with age. In conclusion, the number of neurons in the human colon declines with age with sparing of nNOS-positive neurons. This change was not accompanied by changes in total volume of neuronal structures suggesting compensatory changes in the remaining neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Volume21
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2009

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Enteric Nervous System
Colon
Neurons
Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I
Myenteric Plexus
Choline O-Acetyltransferase
Submucous Plexus
Descending Colon
Age Factors
Sigmoid Colon
Constipation
Nerve Fibers
Anatomy
Regression Analysis

Keywords

  • Colonic transit
  • Enteric neurons
  • Myenteric plexus
  • Protein gene product 9.5

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology

Cite this

Bernard, C. E., Gibbons, S. J., Gomez-Pinilla, P. J., Lurken, M. S., Schmalz, P. F., Roeder, J. L., ... Farrugia, G. (2009). Effect of age on the enteric nervous system of the human colon. Neurogastroenterology and Motility, 21(7). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2982.2008.01245.x

Effect of age on the enteric nervous system of the human colon. / Bernard, C. E.; Gibbons, S. J.; Gomez-Pinilla, P. J.; Lurken, M. S.; Schmalz, P. F.; Roeder, J. L.; Linden, David R; Cima, R. R.; Dozois, Eric; Larson, David; Camilleri, Michael; Zinsmeister, A. R.; Pozo, M. J.; Hicks, G. A.; Farrugia, Gianrico.

In: Neurogastroenterology and Motility, Vol. 21, No. 7, 07.2009.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bernard, CE, Gibbons, SJ, Gomez-Pinilla, PJ, Lurken, MS, Schmalz, PF, Roeder, JL, Linden, DR, Cima, RR, Dozois, E, Larson, D, Camilleri, M, Zinsmeister, AR, Pozo, MJ, Hicks, GA & Farrugia, G 2009, 'Effect of age on the enteric nervous system of the human colon', Neurogastroenterology and Motility, vol. 21, no. 7. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2982.2008.01245.x
Bernard CE, Gibbons SJ, Gomez-Pinilla PJ, Lurken MS, Schmalz PF, Roeder JL et al. Effect of age on the enteric nervous system of the human colon. Neurogastroenterology and Motility. 2009 Jul;21(7). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2982.2008.01245.x
Bernard, C. E. ; Gibbons, S. J. ; Gomez-Pinilla, P. J. ; Lurken, M. S. ; Schmalz, P. F. ; Roeder, J. L. ; Linden, David R ; Cima, R. R. ; Dozois, Eric ; Larson, David ; Camilleri, Michael ; Zinsmeister, A. R. ; Pozo, M. J. ; Hicks, G. A. ; Farrugia, Gianrico. / Effect of age on the enteric nervous system of the human colon. In: Neurogastroenterology and Motility. 2009 ; Vol. 21, No. 7.
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AU - Schmalz, P. F.

AU - Roeder, J. L.

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