Case 72 - Discussion

Uploaded: 2007-07-25, Updated: 2007-07-25




Melanosis Coli

  Melanosis coli is dark brown pigmentation of the colon that occurs with the use of laxatives containing anthraquinone, such as senna. It can develop within a few months of use, and it can disappear in a few months if the use of the laxative is discontinued. Anthraquinones have a direct toxic effect on the epithelial cells of the colon that results in the production of lipofuscin, the dark pigment seen in macrophages in melanosis coli. The cecum and rectum are the most common sites of melanosis coli, but it can affect the entire large bowel. Melanosis coli is considered a benign lesion because no association with colorectal cancer has been shown.
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