Interleukin-18 is increased only in a minority of patients with active Crohn's disease.

C Schmidt, T Giese, R Goebel, M Schilling, T Marth, A Ruether, S Schreiber, S Zeuzem, S C Meuer, A Stallmach
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International journal of colorectal disease
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IL-18 expression in active CD is heterogeneous, only a minority of patients expresses elevated levels. Further treatment strategies targeting IL-18 expression in active CD should be concentrated on this subgroup of patients.It has been suggested that Crohn''s Disease (CD) is associated with an elevated T helper 1 response as manifested by increased production of interleukin-18 (IL-18). Local concentrations of neutralizing IL-18 binding proteins (IL-18 bp) may counteract biological functions of mature IL-18 in mucosal inflammation. Therefore, we investigated the IL-18/IL-18 bp system in a large group of patients with active inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to identify patients that could respond theoretically to IL-18 neutralizing treatment strategies.IL-18 and IL-18 bp messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in colonic mucosa from patients with active CD (n = 72), active ulcerative colitis (UC; n = 32), and non-IBD controls (infectious colitis or diverticulitis; n = 19) and normal, non-diseased controls (n = 20) were measured by reverse-transcribed real-time polymerase chain reaction. Mature IL-18 protein and IL-18 bp expression in inflamed mucosa were assessed by Western blotting.Although IL-18 mRNA was increased in some patients with CD, the increase was not statistically significant. Densitometric evaluation of IL-18/alpha-actin ratio in patients with active CD (n = 20) and patients with UC (n = 10) demonstrated an increased ratio of IL-18 protein in CD when compared to UC (1.04 vs 0.72 [median]). On closer inspections, only 7/20 CD patients had an increased IL-18 protein expression in inflamed areas compared to noninflamed mucosa.