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Keywords:

  • Dendritic cells;
  • IL-6;
  • Mucosal immunity;
  • Intestinal immunity;
  • Ulcerative colitis

Dendritic cells (DCs) control the type and location of immune responses. Ulcerative colitis (UC) is considered a Th2 disease mediated by IL-13 where up to one third of patients can develop extraintestinal manifestations. Colonic biopsies from inflamed and noninflamed areas of UC patients were cultured in vitro and their supernatants were used to condition human blood enriched DCs from healthy controls. Levels of IL-13 in the culture supernatants were below the detection limit in most cases and the cytokine profile suggested a mixed profile rather than a Th2 cytokine profile. IL-6 was the predominant cytokine found in inflamed areas from UC patients and its concentration correlated with the Mayo endoscopic score for severity of disease. DCs conditioned with noninflamed culture supernatants acquired a regulatory phenotype with decreased stimulatory capacity. However, DCs conditioned with inflamed culture supernatants acquired a proinflammatory phenotype with increased expression of the skin-homing chemokine CCR8. These DCs did not have decreased T-cell stimulatory capacity and primed T cells with the skin-homing CLA molecule in an IL-6-dependent mechanism. Our results highlight the role of IL-6 in UC and question the concept of UC as a Th2 disease and the relevance of IL-13 in its etiology.