BACKGROUND: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is thought to be due to an abnormal interaction between the host immune system and commensal microflora. Within the intestinal immune system, B cells produce physiologically natural antibodies but pathologically atypical anti-neutrophil antibodies (xANCAs) are frequently observed in patients with IBD. The objective is to investigate the localisation of immunoglobulin-producing cells (IPCs) in samples of inflamed intestinal tissue taken from patients with IBD, and their possible relationship with clinical features.METHODS: The IPCs in small intestinal, colonic and rectal biopsy specimens of patients with IBD were analysed by means of immunofluorescence using polyclonal rabbit anti-human Ig and goat anti-human IgM. The B cell phenotype of the IPC-positive samples was assessed using monoclonal antibodies specific for CD79, CD20, CD23, CD21, CD5, λ and κ chains. Statistical correlations were sought between the histological findings and clinical expression.RESULTS: The study involved 96 patients (64 with ulcerative colitis and 32 with Crohn's disease). Two different patterns of B lymphocyte infiltrates were found in the intestinal tissue: one was characterised by a strong to moderate stromal localisation of small IgM+/CD79+/CD20-/CD21-/CD23-/CD5± IPCs (42.7% of cases); in the other (57.3%) no such small IPCs were detected in stromal or epithelial tissues. IPCs were significantly less frequent in the patients with Crohn's disease than in those with ulcerative colitis (p = 0.004).CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that different immunopathogenetic pathways underlie chronic intestinal inflammation with different clinical expressions. The presence of small B lymphocytes resembling B-1 cells also seemed to be negatively associated with Crohn's disease. It can therefore be inferred that the gut contains an alternative population of B cells that have a regulatory function.
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|
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