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Immunohistochemical analysis of the distribution of measles related antigen in the intestinal mucosa in inflammatory bowel disease
  1. M Iizukaa,
  2. M Chibaa,
  3. M Yukawaa,
  4. T Nakagomib,
  5. T Fukushimac,
  6. S Watanabea,
  7. O Nakagomib
  1. aFirst Department of Internal Medicine, Akita University School of Medicine, Akita, Japan, bDepartment of Microbiology, cDepartment of Surgery, Yokohama Municipal Hospital, Yokohama, Japan
  1. Dr M Iizuka, First Department of Internal Medicine, Akita University School of Medicine, Hondo 1-1-1, Akita City, Akita 010-8543 Japan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Measles virus is implicated in the aetiology of Crohn's disease. This measles hypothesis is mainly supported by immunohistochemical findings that the measles related antigen is present in the intestine of patients with Crohn's disease. Recently we isolated this antigen from the intestine of a patient with Crohn's disease using a molecular cloning technique and produced the monoclonal antibody against it (designated 4F12).

AIM To discover whether the measles related antigen is uniquely present in Crohn's disease.

SUBJECTS/METHODS Colonic mucosa samples from 20 patients with Crohn's disease, 20 with ulcerative colitis, 11 with non-inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) colitis, and nine controls were immunohistochemically stained with the anti-measles monoclonal antibody 4F12. The numbers of positive cells, the ratio of positive cells to nucleated cells, and the staining intensity of the positive cells were compared. Furthermore, the distribution of the measles antigen in other human organs was examined.

RESULTS Both the number of positive cells and the ratio of positive cells to nucleated cells were significantly increased in Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and non-IBD colitis compared with controls (p<0.05) but were similar among the three disease groups. The staining intensity of the positive cells was also similar among the three disease groups. Small numbers of positive cells were observed in the oesophagus, stomach, duodenum, jejunum, and lung.

CONCLUSIONS The presence of the measles related antigen in the colonic mucosa was not unique to Crohn's disease. These results, together with the observation that such a measles related antigen was derived from host protein, do not support the hypothesis that measles virus causes Crohn's disease.

  • Crohn's disease
  • measles virus
  • immunohistochemistry
  • ulcerative colitis
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • molecular mimicry
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Footnotes

  • Abbreviations used in this paper:
    IBD
    inflammatory bowel disease
    PCR
    polymerase chain reaction
    ELISA
    enzyme linked immunosorbent assay
    GST
    glutathione S-transferase
    SDS
    sodium dodecyl sulphate
    PAGE
    polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis

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