Characterization and distribution of colonic dendritic cells in Crohn's disease

Manuel A. Silva, Carolina B. López, Francine Riverin, Luc Oligny, José Menezes, Ernest G. Seidman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Dedritic cells (DCs) an thought to play an important role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune inflammation, including Crohn's disease (CD). We investigated the distribution and state of maturation of DCs in the colon in relation to the severity of inflammation and therapy. Using archival specimens from colonic resections in 19 pediatric patients with CD and 14 controls, we identified and characterized the DCs within the lamina propria, submucosa, and muscularis compartments using morphologic and quantitative immunohistochemical methods. The distribution of CD11c+ CD83+CD68-DC-SIGN+ and immature CD11c+CD83-CD68- DC-SIGN+ DCs within the different compartments varied according to the presence or absence of CD as well as to the severity of inflammation and systemic corticoid treatment. Immature DCs were only found in non-inflamed control colonic tissue. Marked reductions (60% and 30%) in total CD11c+ and CD83+ DC numbers were observed in CD tissue samples compared with controls (P < 0.05). CD samples from patients on corticosteroid therapy were significantly more depleted than in tissue from untreated patients or those on other drugs. Colonic tissue with severe inflammation had reduced numbers of CD11c+ and CD83+ DCs in the lamina propria and submucosal compartments (80% and 76% for CD11c; 75% and 76% for CD83, respectively, P < 0.05), with a concomitant increase (525% for CD11c and 700% for CD83 P < 0.05) of DCs in the muscularis compartment, compared to moderately inflamed and non-inflamed CD tissue. Our data suggest that an imbalance in intestinal DC subpopulations may play a role in the initiation and/or the maintenance of chronic inflammation in CD. Corticosteroid therapy is associated with colonic DC depletion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-512
Number of pages9
JournalInflammatory bowel diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Crohn's disease
  • Dendritic cells
  • Immunopathogenesis
  • Inflammation


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