Are alterations of tight junctions at molecular and ultrastructural level different in duodenal biopsies of patients with celiac disease and Crohn's disease?

Pooja Goswami, Prasenjit Das, Anil K Verma, Shyam Prakash, T K Das, T C Nag, Vineet Ahuja, Siddhartha Datta Gupta, Govind K Makharia
Virchows Archiv: An International Journal of Pathology 2014, 465 (5): 521-30
Abnormalities of transmembrane and cytoplasmic proteins of tight junctions (TJ) have been implicated in pathogenesis of both celiac (CeD) and Crohn's diseases (CD). Since disease pathogenesis in CeD and CD are different, we planned to study if there is any differential expression pattern of TJ marker proteins and ultrastructural changes, respectively, in duodenal villi vs crypts. Endoscopic duodenal biopsies from treatment naïve patients with CeD (n = 24), active CD (n = 28), and functional dyspepsia (as controls, n = 15), both at baseline and 6 months after treatment, were subjected to light microscopic analysis (modified Marsh grading); immune-histochemical staining and Western blot analysis to see the expression of key TJ proteins [trans-membrane proteins (claudin-2, claudin-3, claudin-4, occludin, and JAM) and cytoplasmic protein (ZO-1)]. Transmission electron microscopy and image analysis of the TJs were also performed. There was significant overexpression of claudin-2 (pore-forming) and occludin (protein maintaining cell polarity) with under-expression of claudin-3 and claudin-4 (pore-sealing proteins) in treatment naïve CeD and active CD with simultaneous alteration in ultrastructure of TJs such as loss of penta-laminar structure and TJ dilatation. Normalization of some of these TJ proteins was noted 6 months after treatment. These changes were not disease specific and were not different in duodenal villi and crypts. Overexpression of pore-forming and under-expression of pore-sealing TJ proteins lead to dilatation of TJ. These changes are neither disease specific nor site specific and the end result of mucosal inflammation.

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