P061 Immune cell infiltrations of myenteric plexus in IBD – characterization and implications

Wiese, J.J.(1);Fascì , A.(1);Kühl, A.A.(1);Siegmund, B.(1);Prüß, M.S.(1);Schumann, M.(1);

(1)Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Department of Gastroenterology- Infectious Diseases and Rheumatology- Campus Benjamin Franklin, Berlin, Germany


IBD frequently causes chronic abdominal pain and visceral hypersensitivity. To understand development of pain in IBD in more detail, we analyzed the inflammatory infiltration of the enteric nervous system (ENS). A crucial signaling point for pain transmission is the myenteric plexus situated in the smooth muscle layer of the colon wall. We investigated (i) the immune cell infiltration within the myenteric plexus, (ii) neuronal cell survival and (iii) expression of neurotransmitters by immunostaining in surgical colonic samples from patients with Crohn´s disease (CD) or ulcerative colitis (UC).


FFPE material from surgeries (ileocecal resections and colectomies) was collected from 12 UC, nine CD and 11 patients that received surgeries for non-inflammatory reasons (controls). Immune cell composition, neurotransmitter expression and cell survival were analyzed by quantifying immune cell infiltration of the myenteric ganglia in immunohistochemistry sections. Immune cells within the myenteric plexus were defined as intraganglionar cells. The neurotransmitters CGRP and substance P as well as annexin V as a cell death marker were quantified based on their expression within the myenteric ganglia.


CD3+CD4+ intraganglionar T-cells (216 ± 44 cells/mm²) were found to be increased for CD myenteric plexus compared to controls (79 ± 35 cells/mm²) (p=0.04) (see Fig. 1). For CD and UC, the cell counts of CD3+CD8+ lymphocytes infiltrating the myenteric plexus were significantly increased (controls: 39 ± 18 cells/mm², CD: 281 ± 105 cells/mm² (p=0.0004), UC: 177 ± 59 cells/mm² (p=0.04), Intraganglionar Foxp3+ T-cells were not significantly changed. Intraganglionar CD163+ and CD68+ monocytes were increased in CD (CD68+ monocytes: control: 377 ± 50 cells/mm², CD: 1278 ± 264 cells/mm², p=0.002 and CD163+ monocytes: control: 501 ± 97 cells/mm², CD: 963 ± 236 cells/mm², p=0.04). Expression levels of the neurotransmitter CGRP were found to be increased for UC myenteric plexus (control: 1.8 ± 0.2 units of intensity, UC: 2.8 ± 0.2 units of intensity, p=0.005). Substance P was found to be reduced in the myenteric plexus of CD patients if compared to controls (control: 2.1 ± 0.1 units of intensity, CD: 1.5 ± 0.2 units of intensity, p=0.007). UC myenteric plexus showed more annexin V-positive cells than control patients.


The intraganglionar immune cell composition of myenteric plexus in IBD comprises CD3+CD4+, CD3+CD8 T-cells in UC and CD3+CD4+, CD3+CD8+ and CD3+Foxp3+ T-cells as well as CD68+ and CD163+ monocytes in CD. In UC myenteric ganglia levels of the neurotransmitter CGRP are increased whereas substance P expression is reduced in CD. UC-affected myenteric plexus show increased levels of apoptosis in comparison to controls.