Human alpha defensin 5 is a candidate biomarker to delineate inflammatory bowel disease.

Williams AD, Korolkova OY, Sakwe AM, Geiger TM, James SD, Muldoon RL, Herline AJ, Goodwin JS, Izban MG, Washington MK, Smoot DT, Ballard BR, Gazouli M, M'Koma AE
PLoS One. 2017 12 (8): e0179710

PMID: 28817680 · PMCID: PMC5560519 · DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0179710

Inability to distinguish Crohn's colitis from ulcerative colitis leads to the diagnosis of indeterminate colitis. This greatly effects medical and surgical care of the patient because treatments for the two diseases vary. Approximately 30 percent of inflammatory bowel disease patients cannot be accurately diagnosed, increasing their risk of inappropriate treatment. We sought to determine whether transcriptomic patterns could be used to develop diagnostic biomarker(s) to delineate inflammatory bowel disease more accurately. Four patients groups were assessed via whole-transcriptome microarray, qPCR, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry for differential expression of Human α-Defensin-5. In addition, immunohistochemistry for Paneth cells and Lysozyme, a Paneth cell marker, was also performed. Aberrant expression of Human α-Defensin-5 levels using transcript, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry staining levels was significantly upregulated in Crohn's colitis, p< 0.0001. Among patients with indeterminate colitis, Human α-Defensin-5 is a reliable differentiator with a positive predictive value of 96 percent. We also observed abundant ectopic crypt Paneth cells in all colectomy tissue samples of Crohn's colitis patients. In a retrospective study, we show that Human α-Defensin-5 could be used in indeterminate colitis patients to determine if they have either ulcerative colitis (low levels of Human α-Defensin-5) or Crohn's colitis (high levels of Human α-Defensin-5). Twenty of 67 patients (30 percent) who underwent restorative proctocolectomy for definitive ulcerative colitis were clinically changed to de novo Crohn's disease. These patients were profiled by Human α-Defensin-5 immunohistochemistry. All patients tested strongly positive. In addition, we observed by both hematoxylin and eosin and Lysozyme staining, a large number of ectopic Paneth cells in the colonic crypt of Crohn's colitis patient samples. Our experiments are the first to show that Human α-Defensin-5 is a potential candidate biomarker to molecularly differentiate Crohn's colitis from ulcerative colitis, to our knowledge. These data give us both a potential diagnostic marker in Human α-Defensin-5 and insight to develop future mechanistic studies to better understand crypt biology in Crohn's colitis.

MeSH Terms (14)

alpha-Defensins Biomarkers Biopsy Colitis, Ulcerative Crohn Disease Diagnosis, Differential Gene Expression Profiling Humans Immunohistochemistry Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Intestinal Mucosa Muramidase Proctocolectomy, Restorative Retrospective Studies

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