Activated eosinophils in association with enteric nerves in inflammatory bowel disease.

Research paper by Claire M CM Smyth, Nadim N Akasheh, Sara S Woods, Elaine E Kay, Ross K RK Morgan, Margaret A MA Thornton, Anthony A O'Grady, Robert R Cummins, Orla O Sheils, Peter P Smyth, Gerald J GJ Gleich, Frank M FM Murray, Richard W RW Costello

Indexed on: 30 May '13Published on: 30 May '13Published in: PloS one


Enteric neural dysfunction leads to increased mucous production and dysmotility in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Prior studies have shown that tissue eosinophilia is related to disease activity. We hypothesized that interactions between eosinophils and nerves contribute to neural dysfunction in IBD. Tissue from patients with intractable IBD, endoscopic biopsies from patients with steroid responsive IBD, both when active and quiescent, and control tissue were studied. Immunohistochemical studies showed that eosinophils localize to nerves in the mucosal layer of patients with Crohn's disease (CD) (p<0.001) and ulcerative colitis (UC), (p<0.01). Eosinophils localized to substance P and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) immunostained nerves. Real time PCR of laser capture micro-dissected enteric ganglia demonstrated Intercellular Adhesion Molecule 1 (ICAM-1) mRNA was increased 7-fold in UC (n = 4), (p = 0.03), and 10-fold in CD (n = 3), (p = 0.05). Compared with controls, eotaxin-3 (CCL-26) mRNA was increased 9-fold in UC (p = 0.04) and 15-fold in CD (p = 0.06). Eosinophil numbers correlated with disease activity, while deposition of major basic protein (MBP) and eosinophil Transforming Growth Factor β-1 (TGFβ-1) expression were seen in therapeutically responsive disease. These data indicate a significant localization of eosinophils to nerves in IBD, mediated through neurally expressed ICAM-1 and eotaxin-3. This cell/neural interaction may influence the function of nerves and contribute to symptoms in IBD.