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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1999 Oct;11(10):1105-11.

T-cell co-stimulatory molecules are upregulated on intestinal macrophages from inflammatory bowel disease mucosa.

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Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Regensburg, Germany.



Macrophages play an important role during mucosal inflammation in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). As the co-stimulatory molecules B7-1 (CD80) and B7-2 (CD86) play an integral role in the activation of T cells by antigen-presenting cells (APC) we investigated the surface expression of B7-1 and B7-2 on colonic macrophages from normal and IBD mucosa.


Intestinal macrophages were isolated from biopsies of 13 control persons and 14 patients with IBD (seven with Crohn's disease (CD); and seven with ulcerative colitis (UC)). Cells were characterized by triple fluorescence flow cytometrical analysis using CD33 as macrophage marker.


The expression of B7-1 (CD80) (9.2% +/- 4.2%) and B7-2 (CD86) (15.1% +/- 7.3%) was low on colonic macrophages from normal mucosa, indicating only a low antigen presenting potential. However, on macrophages from IBD colon there was a significant increase in the expression of co-stimulatory molecules (CD80, 33.8% +/- 8.9%, P = 0.00005 vs. control; CD86, 39.9% +/- 8.8%, P = 0.00002). There was no significant difference between CD and UC in the expression of CD80 (CD, 31.3% +/- 6.7%; UC, 34.4% +/- 13.3%) and CD86 (CD, 41.9% +/- 3.8%; UC, 35.6% +/- 13.8%). While in normal mucosa only 10.6% +/- 4.9% of the macrophages expressed CD14, more than 90% of the CD86/CD80 positive cells of the inflamed mucosa were positive for CD14.


Colonic macrophages from normal mucosa rarely express the co-stimulatory molecules CD80 and CD86. In IBD a new macrophage population is found with high expression of co-stimulatory molecules presumably responsible for the perpetuated immune response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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