Background: A frequent complication of Crohn's disease (CD) is the formation of strictures and stenoses. Strictures are characterized by a fibrosis of the bowel wall, induced by abnormal wound healing. Functional changes of colonic lamina propria fibroblasts (CLPF) reflected by increased proliferation and collagen synthesis, increased contractility or reduced migratory potential, indicate a change of the phenotype. We aimed to investigate differences in gene expression profiles between CLPF isolated from normal, inflamed and strictured areas of CD patients.
Methods: We applied two methods of gene expression analysis, subtractive hybridisation and Affimetrix(R) microarrays to find differences in mRNA expression patterns. Findings were verified by dot blot analysis.
Results: Using subtractive screening and dot blot analysis 74 clones could be confirmed to be differentially expressed in CD CLPF from nonstrictured areas compared to control CLPF. Fibronectin (transcript variant 1, NM_002026) could be confirmed as being upregulated in CD with a ratio of 143. Collagen (type I, NM_000089) was upregulated in CD with a ratio of 17.41 clones could be confirmed as differentially expressed in CD CLPF derived from strictures compared to control CLPF. Five clones were identified as chitinase 3-like 1 (cartilage glycoprotein-39) and confirmed with dot blot with a ratio of 2.1.In an independent approach, microarray analysis showed upregulation of chitinase 3-like 1 (signal log ratio 1.9) in CD CLPF from strictures compared to control CLPF thus confirming subtractive hybridization.Conclusions: In the light of the current literature a number of interesting candidates resulted from the multiplicity of identified genes. In regard to the functional changes of CLPF during stenosis and other dysfunctions some proteins might represent a therapeutic target.