Pouchitis may complicate the construction of an ileal pouch after colectomy for ulcerative colitis (UC) but not familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). To examine whether differences in eicosanoid metabolism might explain why pouchitis is largely confined to UC patients, this study compared arachidonic acid stimulated release of immunoreactive leukotriene B4 (LTB4) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) from macroscopically uninflamed pouch mucosal biopsy specimens incubated in vitro from patients with UC and FAP. The study also compared eicosanoid release from inflamed and uninflamed pouches in patients with UC. In uninflamed pouches, median LTB4 release was nearly twice as high in UC as in FAP (p = 0.001), but there was no significant difference in PGE2 production. In UC, stimulated eicosanoid release from uninflamed functioning pouch mucosa was not significantly different from that from either ileostomy or defunctioned pouch mucosa. LTB4 and PGE2 release were significantly greater from inflamed than uninflamed pouch mucosa in UC (p = 0.001 and 0.01, respectively). Leukotriene synthesis inhibition or receptor antagonism, or both merit therapeutic evaluation in pouchitis. Increased release of LTB4 from endoscopically normal pouch mucosa suggests increased 5-lipoxygenase activity in patients with UC and could contribute to their predisposition to pouchitis.
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