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Open Access Case report

Mucosal atrophy in collagenous colitis: a case report

Michael Majores1, Steffen Wunsch2, Bernd Blume3, Hans-Peter Fischer1 and Christoph Reichel24*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Pathology, University of Bonn, Bonn Germany

2 Rehabilitation Centre Bad Brückenau, Clinic Hartwald, German Pension Insurance Federal Office, Bad Brückenau, Germany

3 Institute of Pathology, Schweinfurt, Germany

4 Department of Internal Medicine I, University Clinic Bonn, Bonn Germany

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BMC Gastroenterology 2011, 11:114  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-11-114

Published: 25 October 2011



Mucosal atrophy as a potential cause of impaired colonic compliance has not yet been described as a complication in Collagenous Colitis (CC).

Case presentation

We present a 51-year-old female patient with a 20-year history of diarrhea and diagnosed with CC ten years prior to her presentation. We reviewed reports from three colonoscopies performed after the diagnosis. Overall 12 biopsies obtained in the last two colonoscopies were re-analyzed by two pathologists blinded to the aim of the study. Besides the typical histological findings of CC, the endoscopic appearance was normal, and no histological signs of atrophy were found during the first colonoscopy. Surprisingly, the second and third colonoscopy revealed a region of advanced segmental mucosal atrophy in the cecum with the mucosal height normalizing toward the transverse colon. This pattern of atrophy was inversely related to the pattern of sub-epithelial collagen deposition, which increased toward the rectum.


If no chance occurrence, our observation supports the idea that additional factors, probably luminal in nature, may be co-responsible for the mucosal atrophy in this case. Thus, mucosal atrophy in the proximal colon appears to be a new candidate among the growing list of rare complications associated with long standing CC.