Kantonsspital St.Gallen

Epithelial and muscular regionalization of the human developing anorectum

Helga Fritsch, Felix Aigner, Barbara Ludwikowski, Sandra Reinstadler-Zankl, Romana Illig, Dieter Urbas, Christoph Schwarzer & Stefano Longato

abstract In the past, interpretations of anorectal development were mainly based on analysis of serially sectioned embryos of various nonhuman species as well as some human specimens. A four-dimensional view of the developmental situation in the human has never been established nor connected to recent findings obtained from newer molecular techniques. We, therefore, investigated human embryonic and fetal pelves by means of immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization to elucidate differentiation and interaction of epithelial and mesenchymal layers of the anorectum. To emphasize spatial as well as sequential morphological development, we produced three-dimensional reconstructions of the specimens at hand. Research conducted proved that the decisive steps of epithelial and muscular differentiation occur between the 7th and 9th week after conception. This study elucidates a biphasic epithelial "closure" in the anal canal and interactions between epithelium, smooth musculature, and skeletal musculature. Based on the results presented here, it is possible to describe the pathogenesis of two anorectal malformations: the imperforate anal membrane and the anal membrane stenosis. This study will now provide the basis for further research into developmental processes occurring before the ones examined.
citation Fritsch H, Aigner F, Ludwikowski B, Reinstadler-Zankl S, Illig R, Urbas D, Schwarzer C, Longato S. Epithelial and muscular regionalization of the human developing anorectum. Anat Rec (Hoboken) 2007; 290:1449-58.
type journal paper/review (English)
date of publishing 11-2007
journal title Anat Rec (Hoboken) (290/11)
ISSN print 1932-8486
pages 1449-58
PubMed 17853405
DOI 10.1002/ar.20589