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Gastroenterology. 2000 Aug;119(2):502-6.

A patient with improvement of ulcerative colitis after appendectomy.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Endoscopic Medicine, Kyoto University Hospital, Kyoto, Japan.


Recently, several retrospective studies have shown an inverse association between appendectomy and development of ulcerative colitis. We describe a 21-year-old man with distal ulcerative colitis and appendiceal involvement. The patient passed bloody stools continually during the 3 years before admission. Macroscopic and microscopic findings showed chronic moderate inflammation of the appendix and rectum. The ratio of CD4 to CD8 lymphocytes isolated from rectal and appendiceal mucosa was increased (4.3 and 3.8, respectively) compared with controls (n = 11; 1.0 in the rectum and 1.4 in the appendix). Clinical symptoms and colonoscopic and microscopic findings improved significantly after appendectomy. In addition, the amount of interferon gamma secreted from rectal lymphocytes was reduced to 89 pg/mL after surgery (before appendectomy, 254 pg/mL). However, interleukin 4 production was below detectable levels both before and after appendectomy. These findings suggest that appendectomy resulted in altered T-helper (Th)1/Th2 balance in this patient. In the 3 years since surgery, the patient has been in good condition without recurrence of symptoms. This is the first report demonstrating therapeutic benefit of appendectomy in a patient with ulcerative colitis and potential mechanistic relationship.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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