Functional Modulation of Crohn's Disease Myofibroblasts by Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Antibodies

Antonio Di Sabatino, Sylvia L F Pender, Claire L. Jackson, Joanna D. Prothero, John N. Gordon, Lucia Picariello, Laura Rovedatti, Guillermo Docena, Giovanni Monteleone, David S. Rampton, Francesco Tonelli, Gino R. Corazza, Thomas T. MacDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background & Aims: Infliximab induces immune cell apoptosis by outside-to-inside signaling through transmembrane tumor necrosis factor-α (mTNF). However, in inflamed gut, myofibroblasts also produce TNF-α, and the affects of anti-TNF antibodies on these structural cells are unknown. We investigated the action of infliximab on apoptosis, the production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP)-1, and migration of Crohn's disease (CD) myofibroblasts. Methods: Colonic myofibroblasts were isolated from patients with active CD and controls. mTNF was evaluated by Western blotting and flow cytometry. Infliximab-treated myofibroblasts were analyzed for apoptosis by Annexin V staining and caspase-3. TIMP-1 and MMPs were measured by Western blotting, and fibroblast migration was assessed by using an in vitro wound-healing scratch assay. Results: CD myofibroblasts showed higher mTNF expression than control myofibroblasts. Infliximab had no effect on CD myofibroblast apoptosis, caspase-3 activation, and production of MMP-3 and MMP-12. However, infliximab induced a significant dose-dependent increase in TIMP-1 production, which was inhibited by the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitor SB 203580. The anti-TNF agents adalimumab, etanercept, and p55 TNF-receptor-human IgG fusion protein also increased TIMP-1 production. The migration of CD myofibroblasts was enhanced significantly by infliximab and recombinant human TIMP-1, and infliximab-induced migration was inhibited by anti-TIMP-1 neutralizing antibody. Infliximab also decreased CD myofibroblast collagen production. Conclusions: Our findings show a novel therapeutic pathway for anti-TNF therapies in enhancing TIMP-1 production and myofibroblast migration, which may reduce MMP activity and facilitate the wound healing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-149
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

Cite this

Di Sabatino, A., Pender, S. L. F., Jackson, C. L., Prothero, J. D., Gordon, J. N., Picariello, L., Rovedatti, L., Docena, G., Monteleone, G., Rampton, D. S., Tonelli, F., Corazza, G. R., & MacDonald, T. T. (2007). Functional Modulation of Crohn's Disease Myofibroblasts by Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Antibodies. Gastroenterology, 133(1), 137-149.