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P074. Expression of CCL20 and its corresponding receptor CCR6 is located to epithelium and infiltrating cells in the mucosa of IBD patients

H.K. Skovdahl1, A.v. Granlund2, A.E. Østvik2, J.K. Damås2, A.K. Sandvik2, 1Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Institute for cancer research and molecular medicine, Trondheim, Norway, 2Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Trondheim, Norway

Background

CCL20 and its corresponding receptor CCR6 have been studied to some degree in the pathogenesis of IBD. CCL20 has been found in the epithelial cells overlying Peyer's patches and lymphoid follicles of the gastrointestinal mucosa, and with an expression in the epithelial cells greater in patients with active IBD than in healthy controls. However, CCL20 and CCR6 expression has been shown in other cells as well as the colonic epithelium, among these B-cells, immature dendrittic cells and neutrophils. Because previous expression studies on CCL20 and CCR6 diverge with respect to results and conclusions, we undertook a study to investigate the expression of CCL20 and CCR6 in colonic biopsies of IBD patients.

Methods

A microarray gene expression analysis was performed on colonic biopsies from a large clinical IBD material, using Illumina Bead Chip technology. A subset of colonic biopsies was examined by qRT-PCR, immunohistochemistry (IHC) and in situ hybridization (ISH).

Results

The gene expression level of CCL20 was significantly upregulated in active ulcerative colitis and morbus crohns, vs healthy controls. IHC and ISH revealed that the expression of CCL20 and CCR6, both on mRNA and protein level, is localized to the colonic epithelum and infiltrating cells of the lamina propria. The expression is greater in active disease compared to healthy controls.

Conclusion

CCL20 and CCR6 are upregulated in IBD patients with active disease compared to healthy controls, this seems to be due to both an upregulation in epithelial cells and an increased number of infiltrating immune cells in the lamina propria. Expression of CCL20 and CCR6 in both epithelium and infiltrating cells suggests that the role of CCL20 as an immunoregulator in IBD might be more complicated than being solely a chemoattractant with its action mediated through the epithelial production of CCL20 and expression of CCR6 on immune cells.