Purpose: Controversy exists as to whether pouchitis represents a reactivation of the immunologic mechanisms that lead to ulcerative colitis (UC). The aims of this study were to determine local levels of the cytokines: interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-8 (IL-8), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) in the mucosa of patients with "asymptomatic" ileoanal pouch (n = 25), pouchitis (n = 9), active UC (n = 20), normal ileum (n = 15), proctitis (n = 10), and normal colon (n = 15).
Methods: Lamina propria mononuclear cells were isolated from mucosal biopsies by enzymatic dispersion and cultured for 48 hours. Proinflammatory cytokine levels were measured in the supernatants by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: IL-1 beta, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF alpha secretions were significantly greater in pouchitis and active UC than in the noninflamed ileoanal pouch and normal controls (P < 0.001). There was significant correlation (r = 0.63, P < 0.05) between levels of cytokines expressed in pouchitis and active UC.
Conclusions: Increased cytokine expression occurs in both active UC and pouchitis and to a lesser extent in the long-standing ileoanal pouch.