Histochemical Characterization of Mucosal Mucin in Serial Biopsies Along the Human Colon

Yawn Niv, Hana Turani, Gerald M. Fraser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


To establish patterns of mucin staining in the colon, a differential staining method was developed separating acid mucins into sialomucins and sulfomucins, and their distribution was studied along the colon of 9 normal subjects, 6 patients with ulcerative colitis in remission and 9 with colon cancer. Serial mucosal biopsies from the cecum to the rectum, were taken at colonoscopy and stained with aldehyde-fuchsin and alcian blue. The mean score of staining intensity in normals for sialomucins was higher than for sulfomucins, 1.85 ± 0.05 versus 0.60 ± 0.08 (p ≮ 0.05). A significantly lower staining score for sulfomucins was found in the descending colon and in the cecum when compared with the rectum. Ninety-seven percent of the slides were positive for sialomucins, but only 50% for sulfomucins (p ≮ 0.05). The mean (± SE) staining intensity for sialomucins in the ulcerative colitis and cancer groups was 1.60 ± 0.08 and 1.60 ± 0.05 (p = 0.002 and p ≮ 0.05 when compared with the controls, respectively). A difference in the percentage of biopsies positive for sulfomucins, in controls and proctosigmoiditis groups, was also observed: 50.0 and 33.3%, respectively (p = 0.013). No significant change was demonstrated in the mean sulfomucin staining score comparing normal and colon cancer patients. Our results may be used as a baseline for further research on mucin staining patterns in colorectal inflammatory and neoplastic diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-112
Number of pages4
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Colorectal cancer
  • Histochemistry
  • Mucin
  • Sialomucin
  • Sulfomucin
  • Ulcerative colitis


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