Pathology of neuromuscular disorders of the small intestine and colon

Gastroenterology. 1987 Sep;93(3):610-39. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(87)90926-7.


A variety of pathological abnormalities of the smooth muscle and myenteric plexus result in clinical syndromes of disordered small intestinal and colonic motility. These pathological abnormalities have been noted by conventional light microscopy and by utilization of Smith's technique for visualizing the myenteric plexus with silver. We have classified the neuromuscular disorders into two major categories, i.e., those affecting the myenteric plexus and those affecting the smooth muscle. The classification is further developed based on the variety of clinicopathological features of the various disorders. Although we can now identify the underlying pathology of these motor disorders and thus understand these illnesses better than we did a decade ago, we have much more to learn. With the great strides being made to understand the normal structure, function, and development of the myenteric plexus and smooth muscle, there is hope that we will be able to learn much more about the etiology and pathogenesis of these neuromuscular disorders in the decade to come.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Colon / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases / pathology*
  • Intestine, Small / pathology*
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / pathology*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / pathology