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J Biol Chem. 2003 May 9;278(19):16777-81. Epub 2003 Mar 3.

Constitutive STAT3 activation in intestinal T cells from patients with Crohn's disease.

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  • 1Institute of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, the Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Via cytoplasmic signal transduction pathways, cytokines induce a variety of biological responses and modulate the outcome of inflammatory diseases and malignancies. Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease of unknown etiology. Perturbation of the intestinal cytokine homeostasis is believed to play a pivotal role, but the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease is not fully understood. Here, we study intestinal T cells from Crohn's disease and healthy volunteers. We show that STAT3 and STAT4 are constitutively activated in Crohn's patients but not in healthy volunteers. The activation is specific, because other STAT proteins are not constitutively activated. Furthermore, the STAT3 regulated protein, SOCS3, is also constitutively expressed in Crohn's patients but not in healthy volunteers. Taken together, these data provide evidence of abnormal STAT/SOCS signaling in Crohn's disease. This aberrant activation, so far noted only in malignant cells, establish a new critical approach for better understanding the immunopathogenesis of Crohn's disease.

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