Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 53, Issue 6, pp 1488–1492

Alterations in the Density of Interstitial Cells of Cajal in Achalasia

  • Arman Kilic
  • James D. Luketich
  • Rodney J. Landreneau
  • Scott R. Owens
  • Alyssa M. Krasinskas
  • Matthew J. Schuchert
Original Paper


The aim of this study was to assess the quantity of interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) in achalasia. LES muscle was obtained from 11 achalasia and nine esophageal cancer (control) patients during surgery. Immunohistochemistry was performed and average cell counts per high-power field (HPF) were obtained. Overall, more ICC were observed in achalasia (median = 14.0 cells/HPF; range = 0–22.6 cells/HPF) as compared with controls (median = 6.2 cells/HPF; range = 1.6–10.8 cells/HPF) (P = 0.047). There were two subsets of findings within the achalasia group: 8/11(73%) had an increased quantity of ICC (median = 17.1 cells/HPF; range = 11.6–22.6; P = 0.015) as compared with controls, whereas the remaining 3/11(27%) had a paucity of ICC (median = 0 cells/HPF; range = 0–2; P = 0.02). ICC levels were positively correlated with age of the patient (P = 0.043). Our study demonstrates that subsets of abnormal ICC levels are observed in idiopathic achalasia of the esophagus.


Achalasia Motility Esophageal Interstitial cells Cajal ICC Megaesophagus 



Interstitial cells of Cajal


Lower esophageal sphincter


Lower esophageal sphincter pressure


High power field


Mast cells


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arman Kilic
    • 1
  • James D. Luketich
    • 1
  • Rodney J. Landreneau
    • 1
  • Scott R. Owens
    • 2
  • Alyssa M. Krasinskas
    • 2
  • Matthew J. Schuchert
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Heart, Lung, and Esophageal Surgery Institute University of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pathology University of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Heart, Lung, and Esophageal Surgery Institute University of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA

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