Pediatric Gastrointestinal Histopathology in Patients With Tetratricopeptide Repeat Domain 7A (TTC7A) Germline Mutations: A Rare Condition Leading to Multiple Intestinal Atresias, Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, and Congenital Enteropathy

Am J Surg Pathol. 2022 Jan 5. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0000000000001856. Online ahead of print.


Mutations in the tetratricopeptide repeat domain 7A (TTC7A) gene are a rare cause of congenital enteropathy that can result in significant morbidity. TTC7A deficiency leads to disruption of the intestinal epithelium. The histopathology of this condition has been partly described in case reports and clinical studies. This manuscript describes an in-depth investigation of the pediatric gastrointestinal pathology of the largest histologically examined cohort with confirmed TTC7A mutations reported to date and, for the first time, compared the findings to age-matched and sex-matched control patients with intestinal atresia not thought to be associated with TTC7A mutations. Hematoxylin and eosin-stained slides of endoscopically obtained mucosal biopsies and surgical resection specimens from 7 patients with known TTC7A mutations were examined retrospectively. The microscopic findings were found to be on a spectrum from atresia-predominant to those with predominantly epithelial abnormalities. Several unique histopathologic characteristics were observed when compared with controls. These included neutrophilic colitis and prominent lamina propria eosinophilia throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Striking architectural abnormalities of the epithelium were observed in 4 of the 7 patients. The 5 patients with intestinal atresia demonstrated hypertrophy and disorganization of the colonic muscularis mucosae accompanied by bland spindle cell nodules within the intestinal wall. The components of the latter were further elucidated using immunohistochemistry, and we subsequently hypothesize that they represent obliterated mucosa with remnants of the muscularis mucosae. Finally, atrophic gastritis was noted in 4 patients. In conclusion, the unique histopathologic characteristics of TTC7A mutation-associated enteropathy described herein more fully describe this novel disease entity in infants who present with congenital enteropathy or enterocolitis.