A study of the interstitial cells of cajal in aged donkeys with and without intestinal disease

Intestinal tissue samples were collected during routine post-mortem examinations from 12 aged donkeys. Six animals were euthanised due to impaction of the pelvic flexure of the large colon, while the remaining six were euthanised for non-enteric reasons such as dental or orthopaedic disease. Immunohistochemical labelling was performed to demonstrate the gastrointestinal pacemaker cells, the interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC), with polyclonal c-Kit antibodies. The distribution and density of the cellular networks were assessed qualitatively and semi-quantitatively. ICC networks are present in the donkey, with distribution similar to that of the horse, and they remain strongly immunoreactive in the older animal. There was no difference in the density and distribution of ICC in animals with or without intestinal disease.

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