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Cancer-induced morphological changes in enteric glial cells in the jejunum of Walker-256 tumor-bearing rats.

👤 Authors: Fabiana Galvão da Motta Lima, Maysa Pacheco Alvarez da Silva, Sabrina Silva Sestak, Flávia Alessandra Guarnier, Ana Paula de Oliveira, João Victor Kuller, Brian David Gulbransen, Juliana Vanessa Colombo Martins Perles, Jacqueline Nelisis Zanoni


Cancer-induced cachexia is associated with systemic inflammation and gastrointestinal dysfunction. How changes to cells of the enteric nervous system contribute to gut dysfunction in tumor development and cancer cachexia is unknown.

Here, we tested the hypothesis that changes to enteric glia, a type of peripheral glia that surround enteric neurons and regulate gut homeostasis, are associated with tumor development and that supplementing with the antioxidant L-glutathione is protective against the changes induced. Immunohistochemistry for neurons, enteric glial cells and immune cells was performed in whole-mount preparations and frozen histological sections of the jejunum from 20 Wistar rats, distributed in 4 groups: control, tumor of Walker-256, control administered with 1 % L-glutathione, and tumor of Walker-256 administered with 1 % L-glutathione.

Morphoquantitative analyses were made using Image-Pro® Plus 4.5 and ImageJ® 1.43° software. Tumor development significantly reduced neuronal and glial cell populations in the myenteric and submucosal plexuses and enlarged glial cell body area in the submucosal plexus.

In contrast, tumors increased glia in the jejunal mucosa and this effect was accompanied by B-lymphocyte recruitment. GSH-supplemented diet was not sufficient to protect against changes to neurons and glia in the submucosal plexus but was partially protective in the myenteric plexus.

L-glutathione had no effect on physiological parameters of cachexia but was sufficient to preserve enteric glial cell density in the myenteric plexus. These results suggest that changes to both enteric neurons and glia likely contribute to the gastrointestinal effects of tumor development and that oxidative stress contributes to these effects in the enteric nervous system.

Flávia Alessandra Guarnier


Londrina State University



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