Background: During active ulcerative colitis (UC), vast numbers of granulocytes, monocytes/macrophages (GM) infiltrate the mucosal tissue and can potentially exacerbate inflammation and injury. Accordingly, we were interested to see if selective depletion of GM by adsorption (GMA) impacts mucosal healing (MH) in UC patients.
Methods: In all, 124 patients with clinically and endoscopically active UC received 5 or 10 GMA sessions at one or two sessions/week. The endoscopic severity of mucosal inflammation at entry and 1 week after the last GMA session were scored as follows: 0 = normal mucosa and inactive disease; 1 = mild inflammation; 2 = moderate inflammation; 3 = severe inflammation. Likewise, a score 0 or 1 at post-GMA course was defined as MH.
Results: At entry the endoscopic severity of the mucosal inflammation was 2 in 100 patients (81%) and 3 in 24 patients (19%). Following the course of GMA, 56 patients (45%) achieved clinical remission (normal stool frequency and no rectal bleeding). Thirty-four of these 56 responders achieved MH; 32 (94%) of the 34 patients with MH had an endoscopic score of 2 (moderate inflammation) at entry. The maintained clinical remission rate was significantly higher in the 34 patients who achieved MH as compared with 22 patients who achieved clinical remission without MH (P = 0.0005).
Conclusions: MH is achieved more frequently in patients with moderate than with severe endoscopic severity at entry. Further, patients with MH have a reduced risk of future clinical relapse as compared with patients who achieve remission without MH.