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Hallmarks of epithelial to mesenchymal transition are detectable in Crohn's disease associated intestinal fibrosis


Scharl, Michael; Huber, Nicole; Lang, Silvia; Fürst, Alois; Jehle, Ekkehard; Rogler, Gerhard (2015). Hallmarks of epithelial to mesenchymal transition are detectable in Crohn's disease associated intestinal fibrosis. Clinical and Translational Medicine, 4(1):online.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Intestinal fibrosis and subsequent stricture formation represent frequent complications of Crohn's disease (CD). In many organs, fibrosis develops as a result of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). Recent studies suggested that EMT could be involved in intestinal fibrosis as a result of chronic inflammation. Here, we investigated whether EMT might be involved in stricture formation in CD patients. METHODS Human colonic tissue specimens from fibrotic areas of 18 CD and 10 non-IBD control patients were studied. Immunohistochemical staining of CD68 (marker for monocytes/macrophages), transforming growth factor-β1 (TGFβ1), β-catenin, SLUG, E-.cadherin, α-smooth muscle actin and fibroblast activation protein (FAP) were performed using standard techniques. RESULTS In fibrotic areas in the intestine of CD patients, a large number of CD68-positive mononuclear cells was detectable suggesting an inflammatory character of the fibrosis. We found stronger expression of TGFβ1, the most powerful driving force for EMT, in and around the fibrotic lesions of CD patients than in non-IBD control patients. In CD patients membrane staining of β-catenin was generally weaker than in control patients and more cells featured nuclear staining indicating transcriptionally active β-catenin, in fibrotic areas. In these regions we also detected nuclear localisation of the transcription factor, SLUG, which has also been implicated in EMT pathogenesis. Adjacent to the fibrotic tissue regions, we observed high levels of FAP, a marker of reactive fibroblasts. CONCLUSIONS We demonstrate the presence of EMT-associated molecules in fibrotic lesions of CD patients. These findings support the hypothesis that EMT might play a role for the development of CD-associated intestinal fibrosis.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Intestinal fibrosis and subsequent stricture formation represent frequent complications of Crohn's disease (CD). In many organs, fibrosis develops as a result of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). Recent studies suggested that EMT could be involved in intestinal fibrosis as a result of chronic inflammation. Here, we investigated whether EMT might be involved in stricture formation in CD patients. METHODS Human colonic tissue specimens from fibrotic areas of 18 CD and 10 non-IBD control patients were studied. Immunohistochemical staining of CD68 (marker for monocytes/macrophages), transforming growth factor-β1 (TGFβ1), β-catenin, SLUG, E-.cadherin, α-smooth muscle actin and fibroblast activation protein (FAP) were performed using standard techniques. RESULTS In fibrotic areas in the intestine of CD patients, a large number of CD68-positive mononuclear cells was detectable suggesting an inflammatory character of the fibrosis. We found stronger expression of TGFβ1, the most powerful driving force for EMT, in and around the fibrotic lesions of CD patients than in non-IBD control patients. In CD patients membrane staining of β-catenin was generally weaker than in control patients and more cells featured nuclear staining indicating transcriptionally active β-catenin, in fibrotic areas. In these regions we also detected nuclear localisation of the transcription factor, SLUG, which has also been implicated in EMT pathogenesis. Adjacent to the fibrotic tissue regions, we observed high levels of FAP, a marker of reactive fibroblasts. CONCLUSIONS We demonstrate the presence of EMT-associated molecules in fibrotic lesions of CD patients. These findings support the hypothesis that EMT might play a role for the development of CD-associated intestinal fibrosis.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:26 Jan 2016 17:58
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 17:16
Publisher:SpringerOpen
ISSN:2001-1326
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s40169-015-0046-5
PubMed ID:25852817

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