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Colonic mast cell numbers, symptom profile, and mucosal expression of elements of the epithelial barrier in irritable bowel syndrome

Journal article
Authors Johanna Sundin
Sofia Nordlander
H. Eutamene
V. Alquier-Bacquie
C. Cartier
V. Theodorou
B. Le Neve
Hans Törnblom
Magnus Simrén
Lena Öhman
Published in Neurogastroenterology and Motility
Volume 31
Issue 11
ISSN 1350-1925
Publication year 2019
Published at University of Gothenburg Centre for person-centred care (GPCC)
Institute of Biomedicine
Institute of Medicine
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1111/nmo.13701
Keywords barrier integrity, intestinal, irritable bowel syndrome, mast cells, symptom severity, abdominal-pain, system, permeability, activation, challenges, correlate, severity, disease, anxiety, Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Neurosciences & Neurology
Subject categories Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Neurosciences

Abstract

Background This study aimed to determine whether patients with IBS displayed altered mucosal mast cell (MC) numbers and proportions of MCs co-localizing with nerves compared with healthy subjects (HS) and whether these MC characteristics correlated with IBS symptoms, elements of the epithelial barrier, or visceral sensitivity. Methods Mucosal MC characteristics were determined using immunoassay. IBS symptoms, gene expression of elements of the epithelial barrier, fecal serine protease activity, and visceral sensitivity were assessed. Key Results The MC numbers per mm(2) were 2.0 (0.0-6.0) in patients with IBS (n = 43) and 3.5 (1.1-9.1) in HS (n = 20, P = .26). Of these, MCs were 0.0 (0.0-20) % vs 3.1 (0.0-18) % (P = .76) in IBS and HS, respectively, in co-localization with nerve fibers. MC characteristics were equivalent in the different IBS subtypes. Hierarchical cluster analysis identified two distinct groups among patients with IBS: MC high (higher MC numbers and proportions of MCs co-localizing with nerves) and MC low (lower MC numbers and proportions of MCs co-localizing with nerves). The MC high and MC low groups could not be discriminated with regard to IBS symptoms, parameters of visceral sensitivity, gene expression of elements of the epithelial barrier, and fecal protease activity. Conclusion and Inferences There was no evidence of increased infiltration or altered localization of MCs in the colonic mucosa of patients with IBS. These MC characteristics were not linked to global IBS symptoms or mucosal expression of elements of the epithelial barrier. These findings indicate that quantity and location of mucosal MCs are factors not involved in the pathophysiology of IBS.

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