Original Articles

International Journal of Colorectal Disease

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 208-213

First online:

Submucosal collagen changes in the normal colon and in diverticular disease

  • H. J. ThomsonAffiliated withGastrointestinal Unit, Western General Hospital
  • , A. BusuttilAffiliated withPathology Department, Western General Hospital
  • , M. A. EastwoodAffiliated withGastrointestinal Unit, Western General Hospital
  • , A. N. SmithAffiliated withGastrointestinal Unit, Western General Hospital
  • , R. A. EltonAffiliated withMedical Statistics Unit, University of Edinburgh

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Full thickness specimens of normal colon (n=15), and colon from patients with diverticular disease (n = 5) were obtained at operation or autopsy. In the isolated submucosa the ultrastructure of the constituent collagen fibres was examined by transmission electron microscopy. Collagen fibrils in the left colon become smaller (p < 0.001) and more tightly packed (p< 0.001) than those in the right colon with increasing age. This difference is accentuated in diverticular disease (p<0.01). Factors which contribute to the development of colonic diverticulosis, such as raised intraluminal pressure, may be responsible for premature change in submucosal structure.