Chemokine and cytokine levels in inflammatory bowel disease patients

Cytokine. 2016 Jan:77:44-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2015.10.008. Epub 2015 Oct 29.


Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), two forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are chronic, relapsing, and tissue destructive lesions that are accompanied by the uncontrolled activation of effector immune cells in the mucosa. Recent estimates indicate that there are 1.3 million annual cases of IBD in the United States, 50% of which consists of CD and 50% of UC. Chemokines and cytokines play a pivotal role in the regulation of mucosal inflammation by promoting leukocyte migration to sites of inflammation ultimately leading to tissue damage and destruction. In recent years, experimental studies in rodents have led to a better understanding of the role played by these inflammatory mediators in the development and progression of colitis. However, the clinical literature on IBD remains limited. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate systemic concentrations of key chemokines and cytokines in forty-two IBD patients with a range of disease activity compared to levels found in ten healthy donors. We found a significant increase in an array of chemokines including macrophage migration factor (MIF), CCL25, CCL23, CXCL5, CXCL13, CXCL10, CXCL11, MCP1, and CCL21 in IBD patients as compared to normal healthy donors (P<0.05). Further, we also report increases in the inflammatory cytokines IL-16, IFN-γ, IL-1β and TNF-α in IBD patients when compared to healthy donors (P<0.05). These data clearly indicate an increase in circulating levels of specific chemokines and cytokines that are known to modulate systemic level through immune cells results in affecting local intestinal inflammation and tissue damage in IBD patients. Blockade of these inflammatory mediators should be explored as a mechanism to alleviate or even reverse symptoms of IBD.

Keywords: Chemokine; Crohn’s disease (CD); Cytokine; Inflammation; Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); Ulcerative colitis (UC).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chemokines / blood*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / blood
  • Crohn Disease / blood
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / blood*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / metabolism


  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators