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Research Article

Expression and Significance of Neuroligins in Myenteric Cells of Cajal in Hirschsprung's Disease


Purpose The aim of this study was to investigate the expression and significance of neuroligins in myenteric cells of Cajal (ICC-MY) in Hirschsprung’s disease (HSCR). Methods Longitudinal muscle with adherent myenteric plexus (LMMP) from surgical excision waste colon of HSCR children were prepared by peeling off the mucous layer, sub-mucosal layer and circular muscle. Neuroligins, c-Kit (c-Kit-immunoreactivity representing ICC) and their relationship were assessed by double labeling immunofluorescence staining. ICC-MY were dissociated and cultured from LMMP by enzymolysis method, and were purified and analyzed using a combination of magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS) and flow cytometry (FCM). Western-blot analysis was applied to compare and evaluate the expression levels of neuroligins in ICC-MY which were dissociated from different segments of HSCR (ganglionic colonic segment, transitional colonic segment and aganglionic colonic segment). Results Neuroligins and c-Kit were expressed on the same cells (ICC-MY); ICC-MY were dissociated, cultured and purified. For HSCR, neuroligins were expressed significantly in ICC-MY from ganglionic colonic segments, moderately in those from transitional colonic segments and down-regulated significantly in those from aganglionic colonic segments. Conclusions Neuroligins were expressed in ICC-MY of human beings, and the expression varies from different segments of HSCR. This abnormal expression might play an important role in the pathogenesis of this disease through affecting the synaptic function of ICC-MY.