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Intestinal alpha-defensin expression in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease

Authors


  • Supported by the German Society of Paediatric Ggastroenterology (GPGE); Witten/Herdecke University; Crohn's in Childhood Research Association (CICRA); Crohn's and Colitis in Childhood (3Cs) charity.

Abstract

Background:

Reduced alpha-defensin expression has been reported in the terminal ileum (TI) of adult patients with ileal Crohn's disease (CD). However, little is known about alpha-defensin expression in children with chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Methods:

In all, 283 intestinal biopsies were obtained from children with CD, ulcerative colitis (UC), and healthy controls. Absolute mRNA copy numbers for HD5, HD6, IL-8, Villin 1, and Tcf-4 were analyzed by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). HD5 immunostaining was performed on biopsy sections and patients genotyped for NOD2 mutations.

Results:

Equal expression levels of alpha-defensins (HD5 and HD6) were found in TI biopsies of children with ileal CD (L1+L3) compared to patients with colonic disease (L2) and healthy controls. In contrast, we found significantly higher levels of alpha-defensins in the TI of children with UC compared to CD and controls. Reduced expression of Tcf-4 was observed exclusively in the duodenum and TI of CD patients with L1+L3 phenotype. We demonstrate significantly increased expression of HD5 and HD6 in the inflamed colon of IBD children (UC and CD) attributable to the presence of metaplastic Paneth cells.

Conclusions:

In this study no difference in alpha-defensin expression was found in the TI of CD children and controls. However, significant reduction of Tcf-4 in L1+L3 phenotype suggests that a possibly impaired PC differentiation may lead to altered HD5 and HD6 expression at some stage of disease. Additionally, substantially increased expression of alpha-defensins in the inflamed colonic mucosa of children with IBD raises the question for their potential involvement in modulating inflammation in these patients. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2010;)

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