Brief Article
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World J Gastroenterol. Jun 21, 2013; 19(23): 3602-3607
Published online Jun 21, 2013. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i23.3602
Evaluation of enterochromaffin cells and melatonin secretion exponents in ulcerative colitis
Cezary Chojnacki, Maria Wiśniewska-Jarosińska, Grażyna Kulig, Ireneusz Majsterek, Russel J Reiter, Jan Chojnacki
Cezary Chojnacki, Maria Wiśniewska-Jarosińska, Grażyna Kulig, Jan Chojnacki, Department of Gastroenterology, Medical University of Lodz, 90-647 Lodz, Poland
Ireneusz Majsterek, Department of Clinical Chemistry and Biochemistry, Medical University of Lodz, 90-647 Lodz, Poland
Russel J Reiter, Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX 78229, United States
Author contributions: Chojnacki C conceived the study, and carried out the clinical procedures; Wiśniewska-Jarosińska M participated in study design; Kulig G performed the histopatological procedures and the statistical analysis; Majsterek I performed the biochemical study; Chojnacki J and Reiter RJ participated in the study design and wrote the final version of the paper.
Supported by The Ministry of Science and High Education of Poland, No. NN402 4221/38
Correspondence to: Jan Chojnacki, MD, PhD, Department of Gastroenterology, Medical University of Lodzpl, Hallera 1, 90-647 Lodz, Poland.
Telephone: +48-42-6393049 Fax: +48-42-6393049
Received: October 29, 2012
Revised: April 1, 2013
Accepted: April 18, 2013
Published online: June 21, 2013

AIM: To study an assessment of the number of enterochromaffin cells and expression of hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase in colonic mucosa and urine excretion of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin in patients with ulcerative colitis.

METHODS: The study included 30 healthy subjects (group I-C), 30 patients with ulcerative proctitis [group II-ulcerative proctitis (UP)] and 30 patients with ulcerative colitis [group III-ulcerative colitis (UC)] in acute phases of these diseases. The number of enterochromaffin cells (EC) was estimated in rectal and colonic mucosa. Bioptates were assembled from many different parts of the large intestine. Immunorective cells collected from various parts of the colon were counted according to the Eurovision DAKO (Dako A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark) System in the range of 10 fields in each bioptate at × 200 magnification. The level of mRNA expression of hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase (HIOMT) in colonic mucosa was estimated with RT-PCR. Urine 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (6-HMS) excretion was determined immunoenzymatically using an IBL (IBL International GmbH, Hamburg, Germany) kit (RE 54031).

RESULTS: The number of EC cells in healthy subjects (C) was 132.40 ± 31.26. In patients of group II (UP) and group III (UC) the number of these cells was higher - 225.40 ± 37.35 (P < 0.001) and - 225.24 ± 40.50 (P < 0.001) respectively. Similar differences were related to HIOMT expression, which was 1.04 ± 0.36 in group C, 1.56 ± 0.56 (P < 0.01) in group UP and 2.00 ± 0.35 (P < 0.001) in group UC. Twenty-four hour 6-HMS urinary excretion was as follows: C - 16.32 ± 4.95 μg/24 h, UP - 26.30 ± 7.29 μg/24 h (P < 0.01), UC - 42.30 ± 12.56 μg/24h (P < 0.001). A correlation between number of EC cells and 6-HMS excretion was noted in all groups: r = 0.766 in patients with UP, r = 0.703 with UC and r = 0.8551 in the control group; the correlation between the results is statistically significant.

CONCLUSION: In the acute phases of both UP and UC, proliferation of EC cells and high expression of HIOMT and urine excretion of 6-HMS is noted. These changes may represent a beneficial response in the anti-inflammatory and defense mechanism.

Keywords: Enterochromaffin cells, 5-hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase, 6-sulfatoxymelatonin, Ulcerative proctitis, Ulcerative colitis

Core tip: In the gastrointestinal tract melatonin is secreted mainly by enterochromaffin cells (EC). It appears that hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase (HIOMT) is enzyme determining melatonin synthesis. This indoleamine exert, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects. Its synthesis can be disturbed by pro-inflammatory cytokines. The obtained results noted the proliferation of EC cells and the increase of HIOMT expression in ulcerative colitis ulcerative colitis (UC). Positive correlation between the amount of EC cells and urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin excretion points to the increase of melatonin secretion in the colon, but its beneficial anti-inflammatory effect was insufficient. The results indicate that the supplementation of melatonin may be useful in complex treatment of UC.