Granulomas are organised collection of activated histiocytes induced by a persistent antigen stimulus. A wide variety of antigens encountered by the gastrointestinal tract are of this nature and hence the resulting granulomatous inflammation represents a tissue reaction pattern. The potential causes can be broadly classified as infections or non-infectious immune reactions. There is also a group where a cause is never identified. Granulomas may be of varying morphological appearance, most commonly epithelioid, foreign body type, suppurative and necrotizing. This may provide a clue as to the aetiology; however, in most cases, the cause requires further inquiry. Pathologists may need to cut deeper levels to look for foreign material and apply special stains to look for microorganisms. Pathologists also need to be certain that the process is a true granuloma and not a mimic. The site of occurrence in the gastrointestinal tract and the clinical setting is often paramount in establishing the aetiology. For instance, infections are more likely the cause in developing countries or when there is immunosuppression. Similarly, granulomas in the stomach are usually due to Crohn’s disease; however, it is only rarely the cause of granulomas isolated to the appendix.
Virchows Archiv – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 4, 2017
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