Crypt abscess

crypt abscess

A crypt abscess is a collection of specialized immune cells called neutrophils inside the colon. It is an example of acute inflammation and is often seen in a condition called active colitis.

What does this look like under the microscope?

The inside of the colon is covered by epithelial cells that connect to form structures called glands. When examined under the microscope, the normal, healthy glands look like long, straight test tubes. The open space at the very bottom of the gland is called the crypt. A crypt abscess means that neutrophils were seen filling the inside of the crypt. This damages the epithelial cells and prevents the gland from working normally. Cryptitis is a related change that means the neutrophils were seen in between the epithelial cells.

What causes a crypt abscess?

Crypt abscesses can arise from various conditions, making it a descriptive term rather than a specific diagnosis. Such conditions include infections, certain medications, radiation exposure to the colon, and inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. To identify the underlying cause of crypt abscesses, your doctor will consider the details in your pathology report, along with other personal and medical history information.

About this article

This article was written by doctors to help you read and understand your pathology report. Contact us if you have questions about this article or your pathology report. For a complete introduction to your pathology report, read this article.

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