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. 2003 Sep;201(1):7-16.
doi: 10.1002/path.1407.

Differential Mucosal Expression of Three Superoxide Dismutase Isoforms in Inflammatory Bowel Disease


Differential Mucosal Expression of Three Superoxide Dismutase Isoforms in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Laurens Kruidenier et al. J Pathol. .


Mucosal tissue damage and dysfunction in chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are partly caused by an enduring exposure to excessive amounts of reactive oxygen metabolites (ROMs). Although the three human isoforms of superoxide dismutase (SOD), copper/zinc (Cu/Zn)-SOD, manganese (Mn)-SOD, and extracellular (EC)-SOD, form the primary endogenous defence against ROMs, their expression levels and cellular localization in IBD mucosa are largely unknown. The present study used enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), spectrophotometric activity assays, and immunohistochemistry to evaluate the protein concentration, enzymatic activity, and distribution of Cu/Zn-, Mn-, and EC-SOD in paired inflamed and non-inflamed mucosal resection specimens of patients with Crohn's disease (CD) or ulcerative colitis (UC) and compared these with the levels obtained in normal control mucosa. Gut mucosal SOD isoform expression was found to be differentially affected in IBD patients, without major differences between CD and UC. A marked step-wise increase in Mn-SOD protein levels was observed in non-inflamed and inflamed IBD mucosae, whereas the Cu/Zn-SOD content decreased with inflammation. EC-SOD was only found in low amounts, which tended to be decreased in IBD patients. Immunohistochemical evaluation confirmed these observations. Mn-SOD and Cu/Zn-SOD were both predominantly expressed in intestinal epithelial cells and the percentage of epithelial cells positive for Mn-SOD was considerably increased in IBD, whereas epithelial Cu/Zn-SOD expression was much less affected. Within the lamina propria, SOD expression was much lower. Cu/Zn-SOD and Mn-SOD were prominently present in neutrophils and macrophages, and EC-SOD was mainly localized in small vessels, stromal cells, and neutrophils. The percentage of lamina propria cells positive for Cu/Zn-, Mn-, or EC-SOD was not affected by inflammation. Enzyme activity measurements showed consistent results for Cu/Zn-SOD and EC-SOD, but the activity of Mn-SOD did not concordantly increase with the immunological assessments, which may indicate that a proportion of the Mn-SOD in IBD is present in an enzymatically inactive form. This study reveals remarkable changes in the expression levels of the three SOD isoforms in IBD, particularly in the epithelium. Disturbances in the carefully orchestrated mucosal antioxidant cascade may contribute to the induction and perpetuation of intestinal inflammation in IBD, and may have important implications for the development of antioxidant treatment of IBD patients.

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