Distinct cytokine patterns in early and chronic ileal lesions of Crohn's disease

Gastroenterology. 1997 Jul;113(1):118-26. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5085(97)70116-1.


Background & aims: Chronic intestinal lesions of patients with Crohn's disease (CD) are associated with a T helper (Th) 1-type cytokine profile, including high levels of interleukin 2 (IL-2) and interferon gamma (IFN-gamma). However, the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of the early mucosal lesions are poorly known. The aim of this study was to examine the pattern of Th1- and Th2-type (IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13) cytokines in the early ileal lesions occurring in patients with CD 3 months after ileal resection and ileocolonic anastomosis. Cytokines were also examined in the chronic ileal lesions to look for cytokine patterns related to disease progression.

Methods: Ileal biopsy specimens were obtained from 17 patients with CD and 11 controls. Mucosal IL-2, IFN-gamma, IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 messenger RNA (mRNA) was evaluated by competitive reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction.

Results: The early ileal lesions of patients with CD were associated with a significant increase of IL-4 mRNA and a decrease of IFN-gamma mRNA compared with the normal mucosa of patients with CD or controls. A Th1-type pattern was observed in the chronic ileal lesions.

Conclusions: Divergent cytokine patterns are observed during different clinical stages of CD. These observations need to be considered in the development of newer specific therapeutic agents to prevent CD recurrences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Crohn Disease / immunology
  • Crohn Disease / metabolism*
  • Crohn Disease / surgery
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ileitis / immunology
  • Ileitis / metabolism
  • Ileitis / surgery
  • Ileum / metabolism
  • Ileum / pathology
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukin-4 / metabolism*
  • Interleukins / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma