Synthesis of prostanoids in Crohn's disease was investigated using rectal biopsy specimens maintained in organ culture. As with ulcerative colitis increased synthesis of prostaglandin (PG)E2 was observed when the mucosa was inflamed, compared with uninflamed mucosa in Crohn's disease, and with control biopsy specimens. In contrast with ulcerative colitis differences from control specimens were observed even in the absence of inflammation. There was a raised synthesis of thromboxane (Tx)B2 (stable breakdown product of TxA2); concentrations of 6-keto PGF1 alpha (stable breakdown product of prostacyclin) were unchanged and hence the ratio of 6-keto PGF1 alpha/TxB2 was reduced. These changes might lead to an altered cytoprotective capacity or reduced suppressor cell activity, such as has previously been reported in intestinal lymphocytes in Crohn's disease.
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