Background: Monocyte-chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) activates macrophages and increases the migration of monocytes into tissue during inflammation. It was hypothesized that MCP-1 expression is involved in intestinal inflammation.
Methods: MCP-1 protein was detected by immunohistochemistry and immunoprecipitation. Biological activity of MCP-1 was assessed using a chemotactic assay. MCP-1 messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were measured by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction.
Results: In normal mucosa, MCP-1 was predominantly present in surface epithelium. In contrast, inflamed mucosa from patients with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease contained multiple cells immunoreactive for MCP-1, including spindle cells, mononuclear cells, and endothelial cells. Furthermore, MCP-1 mRNA expression was markedly increased in inflamed intestinal biopsy specimens from patients with inflammatory bowel disease. MCP-1 was detected in isolated intestinal epithelial cells and in conditioned media from Caco-2 cells. Caco-2 cell-conditioned media stimulated monocyte chemotaxis activity that was inhibited by anti-MCP-1 antibodies. Constituitive MCP-1 mRNA levels in Caco-2 cells were up-regulated by interleukin 1 beta and down-regulated by dexamethasone.
Conclusions: In addition to lamina propria macrophages, endothelial cells, and spindle cells, intestinal epithelial cells are able to produce MCP-1. MCP-1 is expressed constitutively in the intestinal colonic mucosa and is up-regulated during inflammation.