Abnormalities in Mucin Gene Expression in Crohn's Disease


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Abstract

Summary:Alterations in the structure and/or quantity of mucins could alter the barrier function of mucus and play a role in initiating and maintaining mucosal inflammation in Crohn's disease. To investigate the hypothesis of a mucin gene defect in Crohn's disease, we analyzed the expression of the different mucin genes in the ileal mucosa of patients with Crohn's disease and controls. mRNA expression levels were assessed by a quantitative dot blot analysis and compared (i) between healthy and involved ileal mucosa of patients with Crohn's disease and (ii) between healthy mucosa of patients with Crohn's disease and controls.Expression of the different mucin genes was heterogeneous among controls and patients with Crohn's disease, except for MUC6 in controls. Nevertheless, MUCI mRNA expression was significantly decreased in the involved ileal mucosa of patients with Crohn's disease when compared to the healthy mucosa (p = 0.02). Moreover, the expression levels of MUC3, MUC4, and MUC5B were significantly lower in both healthy and involved ileal mucosa of patients with Crohn's disease compared to controls (p ≤ 0.05). The decrease of expression levels of some mucin genes (more particularly MUC3, MUC4, and MUC5B) in both healthy and involved ileal mucosa suggests a primary or very early mucosal defect of these genes in CD.

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