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Cytokine/chemokine messenger-RNA expression profiles in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease

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Abstract. To define mediator profiles in inflamed and noninflamed areas in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) we analyzed the expression of 35 messenger-RNAs (mRNAs) encoding cytokines, chemokines, and some related molecules in transmural gut tissues (n=138) from patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), Crohn's disease (CD), and inflammatory and normal controls by real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Using sample collectives with a comparable degree of inflammation, most parameters investigated showed similarly increased mRNA expression levels in both active UC and CD. This included proinflammatory cytokines, but also interferon (IFN) γ and several IFN-γ inducible chemokines. Only macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-2α mRNA was expressed at higher levels in inflamed UC vs. CD. IH revealed that MIP-2α protein was produced mainly by intestinal epithelial cells. Importantly, in histologically noninflamed/inactive IBD samples mRNAs for several mediators were significantly enhanced, accompanied by elevated levels of migration-inhibition factor related protein (MRP) 14 transcripts. CD14 positive macrophages were found especially in noninflamed/inactive UC, many of which coexpressed the RFD-7 antigen. Our results indicate a substantial overlap in cytokine/chemokine mRNA expression in UC and CD. Elevated mediator expression is evident in noninflamed/inactive areas in both diseases. Local recruitment of MRP-14 positive leukocytes might contribute to this phenomenon. In inactive UC a phenotypically altered population of macrophages expressing CD14 might play an additional role.

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Autschbach, F., Giese, T., Gassler, N. et al. Cytokine/chemokine messenger-RNA expression profiles in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Virchows Arch 441, 500–513 (2002).

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