Pathogenesis of colonic diverticula

Br J Surg. 2002 May;89(5):546-54. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2168.2002.02076.x.


Background: Diverticula are herniations through the colonic wall and are therefore likely to be due to a weakness within the wall, an alteration in intracolonic pressures or a combination of these factors. This article reviews these aspects in relation to the pathogenesis of colonic diverticula.

Methods: Medline and Science Citation Index searches were performed to locate English language articles relating to the pathogenesis of colonic diverticulosis published since 1960. Manual cross-referencing was also performed and some historical articles were included.

Results and conclusion: Several theories now exist about the development of colonic diverticula. The majority of the evidence suggests that the morphological changes are the response to a lifelong consumption of a low-residue diet. However, there are complex relations between colonic structure, motility and dietary factors, and it is likely that all of these (and possibly genetic influences) play a role in the pathogenesis to a greater or lesser degree.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Connective Tissue Cells
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Diverticulum, Colon / etiology*
  • Diverticulum, Colon / physiopathology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa
  • Models, Animal
  • Muscle, Smooth
  • Pressure
  • Risk Factors