Published online Dec 21, 2010. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v16.i47.6001
Revised: June 1, 2010
Accepted: June 8, 2010
Published online: December 21, 2010
AIM: To characterize the prevalence of subpopulations of CD4+ cells along with that of major inhibitor or stimulator cell types in therapy-naïve childhood Crohn’s disease (CD) and to test whether abnormalities of immune phenotype are normalized with the improvement of clinical signs and symptoms of disease.
METHODS: We enrolled 26 pediatric patients with CD. 14 therapy-naïve CD children; of those, 10 children remitted on conventional therapy and formed the remission group. We also tested another group of 12 children who relapsed with conventional therapy and were given infliximab; and 15 healthy children who served as controls. The prevalence of Th1 and Th2, naïve and memory, activated and regulatory T cells, along with the members of innate immunity such as natural killer (NK), NK-T, myeloid and plasmocytoid dendritic cells (DCs), monocytes and Toll-like receptor (TLR)-2 and TLR-4 expression were determined in peripheral blood samples.
RESULTS: Children with therapy-naïve CD and those in relapse showed a decrease in Th1 cell prevalence. Simultaneously, an increased prevalence of memory and activated lymphocytes along with that of DCs and monocytes was observed. In addition, the ratio of myeloid /plasmocytoid DCs and the prevalence of TLR-2 or TLR-4 positive DCs and monocytes were also higher in therapy-naïve CD than in controls. The majority of alterations diminished in remitted CD irrespective of whether remission was obtained by conventional or biological therapy.
CONCLUSION: The finding that immune phenotype is normalized in remission suggests a link between immune phenotype and disease activity in childhood CD. Our observations support the involvement of members of the adaptive and innate immune systems in childhood CD.