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Interleukin 16 expression and phenotype of interleukin 16 producing cells in Crohn's disease
  1. P Middela,
  2. K Reichb,
  3. F Polzienc,
  4. V Blaschkeb,
  5. B Hemmerleina,
  6. J Hermsd,
  7. M Korabiowskaa,
  8. H-J Radzuna
  1. aDepartment of Pathology, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany, bDepartment of Dermatology, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany, cDepartment of Gastroenterology, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany, dDepartment of Neuropathology, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany
  1. Dr P Middel, Centre of Pathology, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Robert-Koch-Str. 40, 37073 Göttingen, Germany.pmiddel{at}med.uni-goettingen.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND The mechanisms involved in the initiation and maintenance of Crohn's disease are poorly understood. Previous studies have demonstrated an increased number of infiltrating CD4+ T cells within the inflammatory affected bowel wall in Crohn's disease. Novel therapy approaches using anti-CD4 antibodies are thought to be effective in Crohn's disease.

AIMS Interleukin 16 (IL-16) has been characterised as a chemokine with selective chemoattraction for CD4+ inflammatory T cells. In this study, cellular expression of IL-16 in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis was investigated.

METHODS Expression of IL-16 was analysed in tissue samples of Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and normal controls by applying reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, non-radioactive in situ hybridisation, and immunohistochemistry. Double staining methods were used to characterise cells expressing IL-16. The amount of infiltrating CD4+ cells was determined by immunohistochemistry and correlated with the corresponding IL-16+ cell number by step sections.

RESULTS An increased number of IL-16+ cells in Crohn's disease in comparison with ulcerative colitis and control probes was demonstrated. IL-16 was expressed by CD4 and CD8 positive T cells. In addition, in active Crohn's disease there was a substantial number of IL-16 positive mast cells. The increased number of CD4+ lymphocytes correlated positively with the increased number of IL-16 positive cells in Crohn's disease.

CONCLUSION Our results demonstrate that increased expression of IL-16 in T cells and mast cells in active Crohn's disease is associated with increased numbers of CD4+ lymphocytes. Local expression of IL-16 seems to play a significant role in the initiation and persistence of the inflammatory process in Crohn's disease, presumably by IL-16 mediated recruitment of CD4+ cells, mostly lymphocytes, into the bowel wall.

  • Crohn's disease
  • interleukin 16
  • inflammation
  • chemotaxis
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Footnotes

  • Abbreviations used in this paper:
    IL
    interleukin
    CD
    Crohn's disease
    UC
    ulcerative colitis
    NIGD
    non-inflammatory gut disorder
    RT-PCR
    reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction
    mAb
    monoclonal antibody
    FITC
    fluorescein isothiocyanate

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