Takehisa Suekane 1 , Yoshihiro Ikura 1 , Junko Arimoto 1 , Masashi Nakagawa 1 , Chizuko Kitabayashi 1 , Takahiko Naruko 2 , Toshio Watanabe 3 , Yasuhiro Fujiwara 3 , Nobuhide Oshitani 3 , Kiyoshi Maeda 4 , Kazuhiko Tanzawa 5 , Kosei Hirakawa 4 , Tetsuo Arakawa 3 , Makiko Ueda 1 , *
1 March 2008
Endothelin-1, a powerful vasoconstrictor, forms the endothelin system together with endothelin-converting enzyme and endothelin type A and type B receptors. These endothelin system components are considered to participate in inflammatory and wound healing responses. Previous reports have suggested a role for the endothelin-1 in the pathology of Crohn’s disease. In the present study, we immunohistochemically investigated the expressions of the endothelin system components in affected human intestinal tissues of Crohn’s disease. Eighteen surgical specimens of colonic tissue obtained from patients with Crohn’s disease and 12 normal colonic tissues as controls were examined. Frozen tissue sections cut from the samples were subjected to the immunohistochemical single and double staining. The endothelin system components were expressed mainly in the muscular layers and blood vessels. In diseased colonic tissues, inflammatory infiltration and fibrotic tissue reactions with marked smooth muscle cell proliferation were frequently seen, and were closely associated with increased expressions of the endothelin system components. These results strongly suggest that endothelin-converting enzyme and endothelin type A and type B receptors collectively play a role in the inflammatory and fibrogenic processes of Crohn’s disease. Especially, submucosal smooth muscle proliferation, a histological hallmark of strictures, may be attributable to the upregulated endothelin system.