Article Text


Immunoregulatory function of human intestinal mucosa lymphoid cells: evidence for enhanced suppressor cell activity in inflammatory bowel disease.
  1. C Fiocchi,
  2. K R Youngman,
  3. R G Farmer


    Abnormalities in immune regulation at the gut level may be relevant to the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease, but little is known about the immunoregulatory properties of intestinal mononuclear cells. Therefore, we wished to see if lymphoid cells derived from the lamina propria of surgically resected bowel specimens have any modulatory effect upon the immune response of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. When autologous peripheral blood and intestinal lamina propria lymphoid cells were mixed at different ratios and cultured in the presence of phytohaemagglutinin, we were able to show that intestinal mononuclear cells had the capacity to modify the mitogenic response of the cultured cells. These intestinal immunoregulatory cells, when obtained from mucosa affected by inflammatory bowel disease, express a significantly enhanced suppressor cell activity as compared with those from non-inflamed control mucosa. Such suppressor cell activity varies with cell concentration and requires cell proliferation, but it is independent of anatomical origin (small vs large bowel), type of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis vs Crohn's disease) or immunosuppressive therapy. These findings point to an important functional difference between inflammatory bowel disease and control intestinal mucosa mononuclear cells. The enhanced suppressor activity of lamina propria mononuclear cells may be associated with impairment of cell-mediated immunity at the gut level. This may be related to the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease by leading to defective intestinal immune regulatory events, which may not be detectable at the peripheral level.

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