Other nonneoplastic
Tactile corpuscle-like bodies

Topic Completed: 6 April 2020

Minor changes: 25 February 2021

Copyright: 2020,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Tactile corpuscle-like bodies OR TCLB OR Wagner-Meissner corpuscles

Phoenix D. Bell, M.D., M.S.
Aaron R. Huber, D.O.
Page views in 2020: 667
Page views in 2021 to date: 456
Cite this page: Bell P, Huber A. Tactile corpuscle-like bodies. website. Accessed April 15th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Tactile corpuscle-like bodies (TCLBs) are Schwannian mechanoreceptors found primarily in the skin and not normally present in the gastrointestinal tract
Essential features
  • Very rarely seen in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Always benign, incidental
  • Likely a reactive / reparative process
  • Histologically characterized as unencapsulated nodules within the lamina propria with distinctive eosinophilic fibrillary cytoplasm
  • S100 protein positive by IHC
  • Tactile corpuscle-like bodies is the preferred current term
  • Other names / historic terms: Wagner-Meissner corpuscles, Wagner-Meissner-like corpuscles, tactoid bodies, Wagner-Meissner bodies, pseudo-Meissner corpuscles, Meissneroid corpuscles
  • Colon > esophagus / gastroesophageal junction > stomach > cricopharynx (within gastric heterotopia) / rectum
Clinical features
  • TCLBs have been seen in association with colon adenocarcinoma, inflammatory bowel disease (both Crohn's and ulcerative colitis), Barrett esophagus and gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma
  • Endoscopic findings are incidental and nonspecific
    • Involved mucosa is usually normal
    • May appear as a colon polyp
Prognostic factors
  • Benign, excellent prognosis
Case reports
  • TCLBs require no treatment
Microscopic (histologic) description
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Aaron R. Huber, D.O.

TCLBs (blue circles) within colonic mucosa

TCLBs within colonic mucosa

TCLBs within the gastroesophageal junction mucosa

Sample pathology report
  • Colon, biopsy:
    • Colonic mucosa with tactile corpuscle-like bodies (see comment)
    • Comment: This finding is incidental, benign, and of no clinical consequence.
Differential diagnosis
Board review style question #1
A 65 year old man underwent screening colonoscopy. A small polypoid area was biopsied, as seen below. An immunostain for S100 protein is positive. What is the correct diagnosis?

  1. Amyloid deposition
  2. Granulomas
  3. Mucosal Schwann cell hamartoma
  4. Tactile corpuscle-like bodies (TCLBs)
Board review style answer #1
D. TCLBs (formerly known as Wagner-Meissner corpuscles) are Schwannian mechanoreceptors found primarily in the skin and not normally present in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). TCLBs in the GIT likely arise as a response to mucosal injury. TCLBs are incidentally discovered during endoscopy where they are most often associated with normal mucosa; however, they can also present as polyps. Histologically, TCLBs are seen as nodules within the lamina propria with lamellated or fibrillary eosinophilic cytoplasm. TCLBs are S100 protein positive, which helps distinguish them from some of their histologic mimics including amyloid (Congo red+, S100-) and granulomata (CD68+, S100-). No treatment is required as TCLBs are benign.

Reference: Tactile corpuscle-like bodies

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Board review style question #2
Which of the following is true regarding tactile corpuscle-like bodies (TCLBs) in the gastrointestinal mucosa?

  1. They always present as polyps on screening colonoscopy
  2. They are neoplastic and require extensive resection
  3. They are never associated with conditions that injure the mucosa such as inflammatory bowel disease
  4. They may be confused with amyloid deposition or mucosal granulomata but are S100 protein positive
Board review style answer #2
D. TCLBs are benign lesions that likely represent a reactive / reparative process as they are often associated with injured mucosa (B and C). TCLBs are most often incidental findings associated with an endoscopically normal mucosal appearance; however, in some cases they may appear as polyps (A). Histologically, TCLBs have a nodular architecture, composed of cells with abundant eosinophilic, fibrillary cytoplasm and peripherally placed small nuclei. These findings share morphologic characteristics with amyloidosis or granulomata, which can be distinguished by Congo red and CD68, respectively.

Reference: Tactile corpuscle-like bodies

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