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Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2009;121(7-8):270-5. doi: 10.1007/s00508-009-1150-6.

Cholesterol metabolism in active Crohn's disease.

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  • 1Intensive Care Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty Hospital Ostrava, Czech Republic.


Hypocholesterolemia has been investigated as a typical feature of critical illness and is connected with poor prognosis. Crohn's disease is an inflammatory process and is associated with several metabolic disturbances. In recent decades clinical studies have established a link between lipid metabolism and systemic inflammation. In our study we examined the serum profile of cholesterol (total cholesterol, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol) and changes in the cholesterol absorption/synthesis process by determination of plasma non-cholesterol sterol (squalene, lathosterol, campesterol, sitosterol) concentrations. Serum concentrations of total cholesterol, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol and non-cholesterol sterols were evaluated in 24 patients with active Crohn's disease during a period of 28 days. We detected lower serum levels of total cholesterol (P < 0.001), LDL- and HDL-cholesterol (P < 0.05) in the patients with active Crohn's disease than in the control group. In addition, the patients had significantly lower plasma levels of lathosterol (P < 0.001) and higher concentrations of squalene, although without significant differences. A significant decrease of campesterol plasma levels (P < 0.001) was detected, but lower plasma concentrations of sitosterol were without statistical significance. The active phase of Crohn's disease is characterized by altered metabolism of lipids, mainly of cholesterol. Our results show abnormalities in plasma concentrations of non-cholesterol sterols and provide evidence that the process of cholesterol synthesis and absorption is altered in active Crohn's disease.

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