Reciprocal changes of Foxp3 expression in blood and intestinal mucosa in IBD patients responding to infliximab†

Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (Impact Factor: 5.48). 01/2010; 16(8):1299-310. DOI: 10.1002/ibd.21229
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Immune therapies may act in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) by modulating regulatory T cells (Tregs). Therefore, we investigated the effect of infliximab (IFX) therapy on Forkhead box protein3 (Foxp3) T cells in blood and intestinal mucosa from Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC).
Forty patients with active IBD (23 CD / 17 UC) were treated with IFX 5 mg/kg intravenously at weeks 0, 2, 6, and each 8 weeks thereafter. Blood samples were obtained before every infusion and T-lymphocyte subsets were characterized by flow cytometry. Foxp3 expression in intestinal biopsies from 43 patients with active IBD (19 CD / 24 UC) before and after IFX infusion and from 6 controls were assessed by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry. Plasma C-reactive protein (CRP), clinical response, and endoscopic healing data were collected in parallel.
IFX therapy resulted in a significant and sustained relative increase of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) Treg and of CD4(+)CD25(-)Foxp3(+) Treg cells in peripheral blood (both P < 0.0001 compared to baseline), particularly in responders (both P < 0.05 compared to nonresponders). The change in CRP over time inversely correlated with the increase of CD25(+)Foxp3(+) cells (P < 0.001, r = -0.39) and durable clinical response was associated with a sustained increase of circulating Foxp3(+) cells. Surprisingly, IFX therapy downregulated mucosal mRNA and protein expression of Foxp3 in UC and CD responders (both P < 0.001) but not in nonresponders.
IFX therapy has opposite effects in Foxp3(+) Treg cells in blood and gut mucosa, which suggests a redistribution of this important T-cell subset.

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