AIMS: To compare the density of neuroendocrine cells in rectal biopsy specimens from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected individuals with that of a control group. METHODS: Neuroendocrine cells in rectal biopsies were identified using an immunohistochemical stain for chromogranin and subsequently quantified using a method of linear intercept. RESULTS: Neuroendocrine cells were found to be significantly decreased in the HIV positive group. CONCLUSIONS: Loss of neuroendocrine cells may contribute to apoptotic bodies seen in this condition. This could be related to infection of these cells with HIV and could contribute to diarrhoeal disease in HIV infection.
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