Evidence of chronic inflammation in morphologically normal small intestine of cystic fibrosis patients

Valeria Raia, Luigi Maiuri, Giorgio De Ritis, Basilio De Vizia, Loredana Vacca, Rosalia Conte, Salvatore Auricchio, Marco Londei

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Cystic fibrosis (CF) is caused by mutations in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator gene and characteristically leads to prominent lung and pancreatic malfunctions. Although an inflammatory reaction is normally observed in the CF airways, no studies have been performed to establish whether a chronic inflammatory response is also present in the CF intestine. We have investigated whether immunologic alterations and signs of inflammation are observed in CF small intestine. Fourteen CF, 20 negative, and four disease controls underwent duodenal endoscopy for diagnostic purposes. Two CF patients were rebiopsied, one after 3 mo of an elemental diet and the other after 2 wk of pancreatic enzyme withdrawal. In three CF and 10 controls, in vitro small intestine organ cultures were also performed. Expression of ICAM-1, IL-2 receptor, IL-2, IFN-γ, CD80, and transferrin receptor was studied by immunohistochemistry before and after in vitro organ culture. In CF small intestine, an increased number of lamina propria mononuclear cells express ICAM-1 [mean 114 (SD 82.8), p <0.001 versus controls], CD25 [20.2 (18.7), p <0.01], IL-2 [23.6 (13.7), p <0.05], and IFN-γ [19 (15.9), p <0.05], whereas villus enterocytes highly express transferrin receptor. Reduced expression of immunologic markers was observed after 24 h of in vitro culture in all three CF patients as well as in the patient kept on elemental diet for 3 mo. These results indicate that chronic inflammation is observed in CF duodenum and suggest that the perturbation of local mucosal immune response may contribute to the overall clinical picture in CF patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-350
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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