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World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Jun 21;19(23):3602-7. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i23.3602.

Evaluation of enterochromaffin cells and melatonin secretion exponents in ulcerative colitis.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Medical University of Lodz, 90-647 Lodz, Poland.



To study an assessment of the number of enterochromaffin cells and expression of hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase in colonic mucosa and urine excretion of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin in patients with ulcerative colitis.


The study included 30 healthy subjects (group I-C), 30 patients with ulcerative proctitis [group II-ulcerative proctitis (UP)] and 30 patients with ulcerative colitis [group III-ulcerative colitis (UC)] in acute phases of these diseases. The number of enterochromaffin cells (EC) was estimated in rectal and colonic mucosa. Bioptates were assembled from many different parts of the large intestine. Immunorective cells collected from various parts of the colon were counted according to the Eurovision DAKO (Dako A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark) System in the range of 10 fields in each bioptate at × 200 magnification. The level of mRNA expression of hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase (HIOMT) in colonic mucosa was estimated with RT-PCR. Urine 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (6-HMS) excretion was determined immunoenzymatically using an IBL (IBL International GmbH, Hamburg, Germany) kit (RE 54031).


The number of EC cells in healthy subjects (C) was 132.40 ± 31.26. In patients of group II (UP) and group III (UC) the number of these cells was higher--225.40 ± 37.35 (P < 0.001) and--225.24 ± 40.50 (P < 0.001) respectively. Similar differences were related to HIOMT expression, which was 1.04 ± 0.36 in group C, 1.56 ± 0.56 (P < 0.01) in group UP and 2.00 ± 0.35 (P < 0.001) in group UC. Twenty-four hour 6-HMS urinary excretion was as follows: C--6.32 ± 4.95 μg/24 h, UP - 26.30 ± 7.29 μg/24 h (P < 0.01), UC--2.30 ± 12.56 μg/24 h (P < 0.001). A correlation between number of EC cells and 6-HMS excretion was noted in all groups: r = 0.766 in patients with UP, r = 0.703 with UC and r = 0.8551 in the control group; the correlation between the results is statistically significant.


In the acute phases of both UP and UC, proliferation of EC cells and high expression of HIOMT and urine excretion of 6-HMS is noted. These changes may represent a beneficial response in the anti-inflammatory and defense mechanism.


5-hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase; 6-sulfatoxymelatonin; Enterochromaffin cells; Ulcerative colitis; Ulcerative proctitis

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