Mucosal healing and a fall in mucosal pro-inflammatory cytokine mRNA induced by a specific oral polymeric diet in paediatric Crohn’s disease


Fell Dr Academic Department of Child Health, Imperial College School of Medicine, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, 369 Fulham Road, London SW10 9NH, UK. E-mail:



Although enteral nutrition is a recognized form of treatment for intestinal Crohn’s disease, there are persisting problems with feed palatability and only limited data as to its mode of action.


To assess the effects of a specific oral polymeric diet (CT3211; Nestle, Vevey, Switzerland), which is rich in transforming growth factor β2, on the mucosal inflammatory process.


Twenty-nine consecutive children with active intestinal Crohn’s disease were treated with CT3211 as the sole source of nutrition for 8 weeks. Patients were assessed clinically, and endoscopically, whilst cytokine mRNA was measured in mucosal biopsies before and after treatment by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction.


After 8 weeks 79% of children were in complete clinical remission. Macroscopic and histological healing in the terminal ileum and colon was associated with a decline in ileal and colonic interleukin-1β mRNA (pre-treatment to post-treatment ratio 0.008 and 0.06: P < 0.001, P = 0.006). In the ileum there was also a fall in interferon γ mRNA (ratio 0.15, P < 0.001) with a rise in transforming growth factor β1 mRNA (ratio 10, P = 0.04), whilst in the colon interleukin-8 mRNA fell with treatment (ratio 0.06, P < 0.05).


The clinical response to oral polymeric diet CT3211 is associated with mucosal healing and a down regulation of mucosal pro-inflammatory cytokine mRNA in both the terminal ileum and colon. In the ileum there was also an increase in transforming growth factor β1 mRNA.