Decreased mucosal IgA levels in ileum of patients with chronic ulcerative colitis
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Patients with chronic ulcerative colitis (CUC) are known to have decreased spontaneous IgA secretion by colonic mononuclear cells. The aim of this study was to determine whether a similar alteration exists in the apparently healthy ileum of patients with CUC. The concentration of IgA was measured in the supernatant from homogenized mucosal ileal biopsies using a sandwich-type ELISA. The concentration of IgA was significantly (P=0.025) decreased in the ileum of patients with CUC (N=24) in comparison to normal ileum (N=10). The number of mucosal IgA-containing mononuclear cells (MNC) was also determined using an avidin-biotin-immunoperoxidase technique on paraffin-embedded ileal sections. Although reduced, the number of positive cells and their distribution was not significantly different in the ileum of patients with CUC (N=20) when compared to normal ileum (N=10). We suggest that decreased mucosal IgA levels are a panintestinal condition in CUC and that this is a primary alteration rather than a secondary response to the inflammatory process. Considering the role of IgA, we propose that decreased mucosal IgA levels in CUC may predispose to the disease by a reduction of the immune-mediated exclusion mechanism and/or by an impairment of the down-regulation of the inflammatory response.
Key wordsimmunoglobulin A ulcerative colitis ileum
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