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Glycogenic Acanthosis (Esophageal Plaques)

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View of Esophagus Showing Distinctive Plaques In Glycogenic Acanthosis.

What Is Glycogenic Acanthosis?

Glycogenic acanthosis is a benign thickening of the esophageal squamous epithelium (surface cell lining)  characterized by the presence of numerous, uniformly grey-white plaques made up of large squamous cells filled with glycogen.

The wax-like plaques in glycogenic acanthosis are usually 2-10 mm in diameter and may be confluent round elevations involving the entire esophageal surface.1

 in radiographs (side-by-side) showing appearances of esphagus with glycogenic acanthosis. Courtesy The Radiology Assistant.com

Two radiographs (side-by-side) showing appearances of different esophagus with glycogenic acanthosis. Courtesy Radiology Assistant.nl

On x-ray  views of the well-distended esophagus, the plaques appear as a finely nodular or cobblestone mucosal pattern.

The findings are not associated with mucosal ulcerations, luminal narrowing, or mobility disturbance, although some patients may have coexistent hiatal hernia and gastroesophageal reflux.2

What Is Glycogenic Acanthosis In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?


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  1. Suoglu OD, Emiroglu HH, Sokucu S, Cantez S, Cevikbas U, Saner G. Celiac disease and glycogenic acanthosis: a new association? Acta Paediatrica. Apr 2004;93(4):568-70. []
  2. Ghahremani GG, Rushovich AM. Glycogenic acanthosis of the esophagus: radiographic and pathologic features. Gastrointest Radiol. 1984;9(2):93-8. []