Dilated intercellular spaces as markers of reflux disease: Histology, semiquantitative score and morphometry upon light microscopy

V. Villanacci, P. G. Grigolato, R. Cestari, G. Missale, G. Cengia, C. Klersy, Guido Rindi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aims: A recent electron microscopy study suggested that dilated intercellular spaces (DIS) are specific for acid reflux-damaged esophageal epithelium. Electron microscopy is, however, expensive and difficult to apply to routine biopsies. The aims of this study are to establish a method for assessing DIS on light microscopy of esophageal biopsies and to estimate its association with current clinicopathological parameters of esophagitis. Materials and Methods: 21 patients with reflux symptoms were investigated. Light microscopy biopsies were assessed for DIS size by a semiquantitative method and computer-assisted, static morphometry. A DIS score accounting for DIS size and distribution was assigned to each patient and its association with 30 clinicopathological variables investigated by univariate and multivariate logistic regression. Results: Both the semiquantitative method and static morphometry identified 4 different classes of DIS size. The DIS score was significantly and independently associated with the esophageal symptoms score, the histological score of esophagitis and the relevant morphometry data. Conclusions: DIS may be efficiently assessed during light microscopy of routine esophageal biopsies. Since correlation with both the histology and the symptoms of esophagitis, the DIS score may be considered a novel parameter of esophagitis and is suggested for the routine evaluation of esophageal biopsies in patients with reflux disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Dilated intercellular spaces
  • Light microscopy
  • Reflux disease
  • Semiquantitative method
  • Static morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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