Normal histology of the colon

Am J Surg Pathol. 1989 Nov;13(11):966-84. doi: 10.1097/00000478-198911000-00008.


We describe the normal gross anatomy and histology of the colon, with emphasis on the appearance of the mucosa as seen in the endoscopic biopsies. Various artifacts that may be encountered as a result of trauma from the biopsy forceps, incorrect orientation of the tissue, fixation, and the effects of laxatives and enemas are described and illustrated. Recommendations for optimum handling of biopsies are made.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy / adverse effects
  • Cathartics / adverse effects
  • Colon / anatomy & histology*
  • Endoscopy
  • Enema / adverse effects
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Intestinal Mucosa / injuries
  • Intestinal Mucosa / ultrastructure*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Specimen Handling


  • Cathartics