Background & aims: Gastric histology is not well studied in patients with Crohn's disease. The aim of this study was to analyze the histological appearance of gastric mucosa in patients with Crohn's disease.
Methods: In a prospective study, biopsy specimens taken from the antrum and body of 75 patients with known Crohn's disease of the large and/or small bowel and 200 Crohn's disease-free controls were evaluated by histology and immunohistochemistry.
Results: Helicobacter pylori-associated gastritis was found in 25 patients with Crohn's disease (33.3%) and 78 controls (39%). In H. pylori-negative patients with Crohn's disease, a characteristic type of gastritis was found in antral biopsy specimens of 36 patients (48%) and in body biopsy specimens of 18 patients (24%). It was characterized by a focal infiltration of CD3+ lymphocytes, CD68R+ histiocytes, and, in 80% of cases, of granulocytes. Granulomas were found in 11 patients. Overall, granulomas and/or focally enhanced gastritis were observed in 76% of H. pylori-negative patients with Crohn's disease and in 0.8% of controls. There were no correlations between the occurrence of focally enhanced gastritis and clinical and laboratory findings.
Conclusions: Focally enhanced gastritis is common in Crohn's disease. Its recognition should guide the clinician into further investigations in patients not yet known to have Crohn's disease.