3-D imaging, illustration, and quantitation of enteric glial network in transparent human colon mucosa

Neurogastroenterology and Motility : the Official Journal of the European Gastrointestinal Motility Society
Y-A LiuS-C Tang


Enteric glia form a network in the intestinal mucosa and have been suggested to engage in multidirectional interactions with the epithelium, blood vessels, nerves, and immune system. However, due to the dispersed nature of the glial network, standard histology cannot provide a global view of the network architecture. We prepared transparent human colon mucosa for three-dimensional (3-D) confocal microscopy with S100B immunostaining to reveal the location-dependent glial network for qualitative and quantitative analyses. Full-thickness human colons were acquired from colectomies performed for colorectal cancer. We targeted the mucosa away from the tumor site to characterize the glial network morphology. Optical clearing (use of immersion solution to reduce scattering) was applied to generate transparent specimens for deep-tissue microscopy. Two features of the glial network were seen: (i) A dense glial population resides at the crypt base/mucosal boundary in contact with the lymphatic vessels, and (ii) from the base, the glial network elongates along the crypt axis with peri-cryptic and peri-vascular connections toward the opening. We quantified the mucosal glia as the S100B-positive cells with at least two processes extending f...Continue Reading


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