A new study on Crohn’s Disease revealed that individual differences in innate cytokine production are not important in the development of Quiescent Crohn’s Disease. The study entitled “LPS-Stimulated Whole Blood Cytokine Production Is Not Related to Disease Behavior in Patients with Quiescent Crohn’s Disease” was published this July in PLOS ONE.
Crohn’s disease (CD) is a chronic inflammatory disease with a widespread variation in the disease course ranging from mild ileal inflammation to entire gastro-intestinal tract involvement. The production of innate cytokines (proteins that cause other cells to behave in distinct ways) in Crohn’s disease patients is genetically determined and has a crucial role in the induction and maintenance of inflammation. There are currently no consistent biomarkers associated with the disease. However, profiles in cytokine production appear to be important in Crohn’s Disease due to their relevant function in the etiology and development of the disease. During CD, the defective mucosal barrier of the gut lumen is largely exposed to gram-negative bacteria that have high levels of lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Thus, individual differences in cytokine production may influence the severity of inflammation and predict the disease course of patients with CD. Based on these insights, prior studies have established a link among innate cytokine production in mucosal tissue and disease progression.
In the present study, the research team evaluated cytokine production, such as TNF-α and other crucial cytokines like IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-10, after stimulating biological samples collected from patients with quiescent CD and compared with healthy controls. The patients enrolled were not treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, biologicals (anti-TNF-α agents) or immunomodulating drugs, such as glucocorticoids and cyclosporine during the last 6 months. Moreover, they analyzed the potential association of these results with disease characteristics and phenotypes to establish the cytokines function in disease development.
The researchers found that the variation in LPS-stimulated production of TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-10 in whole blood cultures of individuals with quiescent CD did not correlate with historical disease phenotype, course or severity of the disease. In addition, combination of disease characteristics could not differentiate levels of disease severity.
Overall, this research suggests that individual differences in innate cytokine production are not essential for the development of disease phenotype in Crohn’s Disease.