Inflammation Type Linked to Flares, Hospitalizations in IBD Patients, Study Says

Inflammation Type Linked to Flares, Hospitalizations in IBD Patients, Study Says
People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) whose gut inflammation is driven by eosinophils — a type of white blood cells — are less likely to experience disease flares and require hospitalization compared with those whose inflammation is driven by other types of immune cells, a study reports. The study, “Outcomes of inflammatory bowel disease in patients with eosinophil-predominant colonic inflammation,” was published in the journal BMJ Open Gastroenterology. People with IBD, which includes both ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s Disease (CD), have higher levels of a type of immune cells called eosinophils in the gut. Eosinophils, produced in the bone marrow, are white blood cells that fight parasites and certain infections. Some previous studies have suggested that activated eosinophils may release signaling molecules that activate other immune cells, further worsening gut inflammation. However, other studies have suggested that eosinophils may play a protective role. Now, scientists at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center sought to investigate whether the presence of eosinophils could, in fact, be associated with gut inflammation. To learn more, the team analyzed intestinal biopsies of 142 IBD patients — 82 men and 60 women — who never received any treatment for the disease. Biopsy analyses were performed by two pathologists and included counting the number of eosinophils as well assessing the degree of tissue inflammation. Most patients (83%) were diagnosed with UC and were followed for a median period of three years. More than half (59%) were free of flares during follow-up, while 41% had flares that required at least one course of treatment with corticosteroids. Two-thirds (65%) of those who received corticosteroid
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