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A pilot study of colonic B cell pattern in irritable bowel syndrome

Journal article
Authors Johan Forshammar
Stefan Isaksson
Hans Strid
Per-Ove Stotzer
Henrik Sjövall
Magnus Simrén
Lena Öhman
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 43
Issue 12
Pages 1461-6
ISSN 0036-5521
Publication year 2008
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine
Pages 1461-6
Language en
Keywords IBS, immunoglobulin, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome
Subject categories Immunobiology, Gastroenterology and Hepatology


OBJECTIVE: Low-grade gastrointestinal inflammation has been reported in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, the colonic B-cell pattern has not been investigated in these patients. Therefore, the aim of this pilot study was to investigate the distribution and isotype of immunoglobulin-producing B cells in the colonic mucosa of IBS patients. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Patients with IBS (n=12) fulfilling the Rome II criteria were compared with controls (n=11). Immunohistochemical staining of biopsies from the sigmoid and ascending colon was performed. RESULTS: The number of IgA(+) B cells in the ascending colon was lower in IBS patients than in controls (p=0.039). Furthermore, unlike controls, IBS patients had a reduction of IgA(+) B cells in the ascending colon relative to the sigmoid colon (p=0.04). Neither the IgG(+), nor the IgM(+) colonic B-cell numbers differed between IBS patients and controls. Very few colonic IgE(+) cells were detected and there was no difference between the two subject groups. CONCLUSIONS: The reduced number of colonic IgA(+) B cells in IBS patients suggests that the disorder may be associated with a modified gut immune defence. Whether this phenomenon is causally related to symptoms remains unknown and merits further investigation in a larger group of patients.

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