IL-8 Expression in Granulocytic Epithelial Lesions of Idiopathic Duct-centric Pancreatitis (Type 2 Autoimmune Pancreatitis)

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Type 2 autoimmune pancreatitis (type 2 AIP) develops in isolation or sometimes in association with ulcerative colitis. Its diagnosis requires the histologic confirmation of granulocytic epithelial lesions (GELs) with no diagnostic biomarker currently available. This study aimed to elucidate the tissue expression of cytokines and their diagnostic value in this condition. In quantitative polymerase chain reaction for multiple cytokines using tissue-derived mRNA, the expression level of interleukin (IL)-8 was markedly higher in type 2 AIP than in type 1 AIP (P<0.001). In immunostaining, IL-8 expression was detected in the ductal/ductular epithelium (11/13; 85%) and infiltrating neutrophils or lymphocytes (12/12; 100%) in type 2 AIP, but was almost entirely negative in type 1 AIP (n=13; both, P<0.001). Although obstructive pancreatitis adjacent to pancreatic cancers (peritumoral pancreatitis) exhibited IL-8 expression in the epithelium (3/12; 25%) and inflammatory cells (10/12; 83%), expression levels were significantly lower than those in type 2 AIP (P<0.001 and 0.020, respectively). The presence of either GELs or IL-8-positive epithelium discriminated type 2 AIP from type 1 AIP or obstructive pancreatitis with 92% sensitivity and 92% to 100% specificity. Furthermore, CD3/IL-8-coexpressing lymphocytes were almost restricted to type 2 AIP. Interestingly, a similar pattern of IL-8 expression was also observed in colonic biopsies of ulcerative colitis. In conclusion, the overexpression of IL-8 may underlie the development of GELs in type 2 AIP, and IL-8 immunostaining or IL-8/CD3 double staining may become an ancillary method for its diagnosis. The similar expression pattern of IL-8 in ulcerative colitis also suggests a pathogenetic link between the 2 conditions.

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