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Subclinical gut inflammation in spondyloarthropathy patients is associated with upregulation of the E-cadherin/catenin complex


OBJECTIVE Previously an upregulation of E-cadherin and its associated molecules α-catenin, β-catenin and plakoglobin has been demonstrated in clinically overt inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of the E-cadherin/catenin complex in subclinically inflamed bowel mucosa from spondyloarthropathy (SpA) patients.

METHODS Ileal and colonic biopsy specimens from 19 SpA patients with subclinical inflammatory gut lesions and from seven controls were stained with monoclonal antibodies against E-cadherin, β-catenin and plakoglobin and a polyclonal antibody against α-catenin. E-cadherin mRNA was detected using a riboprobe. Inflammation was histologically classified into acute, chronic active and chronic quiescent forms.

RESULTS In acute and chronic active bowel inflammation of SpA patients, upregulation of the E-cadherin/catenin glycoprotein complex could be observed. Chronic lesions in a quiescent state did not show such an upregulation. Furthermore, chronic inflammation was associated with an increase in E-cadherin mRNA.

CONCLUSIONS As some of the SpA patients with subclinical gut inflammation develop IBD, upregulation of the E-cadherin/catenin complex in inflamed bowel mucosa from SpA patients may point to early cellular changes in the development of IBD. However, at present it cannot be excluded that increased E-cadherin/catenin complex expression is a bystander phenomenon of active inflammation.

  • spondyloarthropathy
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • E-cadherin
  • catenins

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    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and European League Against Rheumatism