Background/aims: Limited efforts have been made to determine changes in the upper gastrointestinal tract in ulcerative colitis. The aim of this study was to analyze gastroduodenal lesions in patients with ulcerative colitis.
Methodology: The endoscopical appearance of lesions in the duodenum and stomach was first examined. Biopsy specimens taken from 25 patients with ulcerative colitis, as well as 21 with Crohn's disease and 16 with nonspecific gastroduodenitis who had no Helicobacter pylori infection, were then evaluated by histology and immunohistochemistry for CD8, CD68 and HLA-DR. In ulcerative colitis patients, the HLA-phenotype was also analyzed by the standard NIH complement-dependent microlymphocyte toxicity assay.
Results: Endoscopically evident alteration of nodularity in the descending part of duodenum was prominent in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, but not gastroduodenitis. Histological inflammatory change of the duodenal bulb in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease was mild as compared to gastroduodenitis cases. Endoscopic and histological change (redness and deformity of villi) in the duodenum were more prominent in ulcerative colitis patients with pancolitis than those with left-sided/proctitis. CD8+ cells infiltrating both the duodenum and stomach were increased in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease as compared to gastroduodenitis whereas focal perifoveolar accumulation of CD68+ cells and enhanced epithelial expression of HLA-DR were characteristic of Crohn's disease. Histopathological alteration in the duodenum was particularly prevalent in ulcerative colitis patients with HLA-DR4 and Cw1.
Conclusions: Nodular, histologically mild duodenitis involving CD8+ cell infiltration, the severity of which positively correlates with the extent of colitis, is characteristic of ulcerative colitis.