Elevated levels of Th17 cells and Th17-related cytokines are associated with disease activity in patients with inflammatory bowel disease
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Interleukin-17(IL-17)-producing T helper(Th)17 cells are considered as a new subset of cells critical to the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). We aimed to investigate the distribution of Th17 cells, the expressions of Th17-related cytokines (IL-17, IL-21 and IL-22) and their association with disease activity in IBD patients.
We collected intestinal tissue biopsies from 40 patients with active ulcerative colitis (UC), 20 patients with active Crohn’s disease (CD) and 20 healthy controls. The distribution of Th17 cells and expressions of Th17-related cytokines in colonic tissues were evaluated by a standard immunohistochemical procedure. Serum IL-17, IL-21 and IL-22 levels were determined by ELISA. Pearson’s and Spearman’s correlation analyses were performed to analyze the correlation between the number of Th17 cells, the expressions of Th17-related cytokines and disease activity index, endoscopic and histological grading, and CRP and PLT levels, respectively.
Compared with healthy controls, the number of Th17 cells and the expressions of IL-17, IL-21 and IL-22 were significantly increased in active IBD patients (P < 0.05). In addition, Pearson’s and Spearman’s correlation analyses showed that the number of Th17 cells and the expressions of Th17-related cytokines were correlated with disease activity index, endoscopic and histological grading, CRP and PLT levels (P < 0.05).
Th17 cells and Th17-related cytokines (IL-17, IL-21 and IL-22) were increased in the intestinal mucosa in active IBD patients and may play an important role in disease activity and mucosal damage.
KeywordsInflammatory bowel disease (IBD) Ulcerative colitis (UC) Crohn’s disease (CD) Th17 Cells IL-17 IL-21 IL-22
This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81270469) and the Key Medical Personnel of Jiangsu Province (No. RC2011063).
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