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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2012 Jul;1258:143-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06631.x.

Ion transport and barrier function are disturbed in microscopic colitis.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Infectiology and Rheumatology, Charité, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Freie Universität and Humboldt-Universität, Berlin, Germany.


In this paper, we identify mechanisms of watery diarrhea in microscopic colitis (MC). Biopsies from the sigmoid colon of patients with collagenous colitis and treated lymphocytic colitis were analyzed in miniaturized Ussing chambers for electrogenic sodium transport and barrier function with one-path impedance spectroscopy. Cytometric bead arrays (CBA) served to analyze cytokine profiles. In active MC, electrogenic sodium transport was diminished and epithelial resistance decreased. CBA revealed a Th1 cytokine profile featuring increased IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IL-1β levels. After four weeks of steroid treatment with budesonide, electrogenic sodium transport recovered while epithelial barrier defects remained. Diarrhea in MC results at least in part from a combination of impaired electrogenic sodium transport and barrier defects. From a therapeutic perspective it can be postulated that the functional importance of loss of ions may be higher than that caused by barrier impairment.

© 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.

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