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J Histochem Cytochem. 2006 Dec;54(12):1335-48. Epub 2006 Aug 21.

Alterations in the composition of the supramucosal defense barrier in relation to disease severity of ulcerative colitis.

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  • 1University Department of Surgery, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol, United Kingdom. rob.longman@blueyonder.co.uk


Mucin glycoproteins and trefoil peptides play an important role in protection and repair of the gastrointestinal epithelium. This study investigates alterations in mucin and trefoil peptide gene expression and product localization in ulcerative colitis (UC). Product localization and message expression of mucin MUC1 to 6 and trefoil peptide TFF1 to 3 genes was analyzed in rectosigmoid tissue from a cohort of patients with active UC and compared with that of normal colorectal mucosa. MUC1 expression was upregulated in severe UC at the site of rupture of crypt abscesses. Reduction in MUC2 expression occurred in UC adjacent to ulceration. No alteration in MUC3 or MUC4 gene expression was detectable in UC compared with normal colorectal mucosa. No ectopic expression of MUC5AC, MUC5B, or MUC6 was identified in UC. Ectopic TFF1 expression was identified in tissues eliciting histological features of severe disease. Decreased TFF3 localization was demonstrated in UC tissues, but no TFF2 expression was detected in any colorectal specimens. Subtle alterations in composition of the supramucosal defense barrier exist in UC and vary in relation to clinical severity of disease. There is upregulation in mucin MUC1 at crypt abscesses and neo-expression of TFF1 trefoil peptide in severe disease.

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