Eosinophils Contribute to Intestinal Inflammation via Chemoattractant Receptor-homologous Molecule Expressed on Th2 Cells, CRTH2, in Experimental Crohn's Disease

J Crohns Colitis. 2016 Sep;10(9):1087-95. doi: 10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjw061. Epub 2016 Feb 29.


Background and aims: Prostaglandin [PG] D2 activates two receptors, DP and CRTH2. Antagonism of CRTH2 has been shown to promote anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects. We investigated whether CRTH2 may play a role in Crohn's disease [CD], focusing on eosinophils which are widely present in the inflamed mucosa of CD patients and express both receptors.

Methods: Using the 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid [TNBS]-induced colitis model, involvement of CRTH2 in colitis was investigated by pharmacological antagonism, immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, immunoassay, and leukocyte recruitment. Chemotactic assays were performed with isolated human eosinophils. Biopsies and serum samples of CD patients were examined for presence of CRTH2 and ligands, respectively.

Results: High amounts of CRTH2-positive cells, including eosinophils, are present in the colonic mucosa of mice with TNBS colitis and in human CD. The CRTH2 antagonist OC-459, but not the DP antagonist MK0524, reduced inflammation scores and decreased TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 as compared with control mice. OC-459 inhibited recruitment of eosinophils into the colon and also inhibited CRTH2-induced chemotaxis of human eosinophils in vitro. Eosinophil-depleted ΔdblGATA knockout mice were less sensitive to TNBS-induced colitis, whereas IL-5 transgenic mice with lifelong eosinophilia were more severely affected than wild types. In addition, we show that serum levels of PGD2 and Δ(12)-PGJ2 were increased in CD patients as compared with control individuals.

Conclusions: CRTH2 plays a pro-inflammatory role in TNBS-induced colitis. Eosinophils contribute to the severity of the inflammation, which is improved by a selective CRTH2 antagonist. CRTH2 may, therefore, represent an important target in the pharmacotherapy of CD.

Keywords: CRTH2; Crohn′s disease; eosinophils.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colitis / chemically induced
  • Colitis / immunology*
  • Colitis / metabolism
  • Colon / immunology*
  • Colon / metabolism
  • Crohn Disease / chemically induced
  • Crohn Disease / immunology*
  • Crohn Disease / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Eosinophils / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin / metabolism*
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism*
  • Trinitrobenzenesulfonic Acid


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Immunologic
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin
  • Trinitrobenzenesulfonic Acid
  • prostaglandin D2 receptor