Anti-TNFα therapy early improves hemodynamics in local intestinal and extraintestinal circulations in active Crohn's disease

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Background and aims: Active Crohn's disease affects intestine but may alter other locations as eyes vasculature. Previous studies provide evidence of elevated blood flow velocities (BFv) and volume (BFV) in superior mesenteric artery (SMA). We prospectively studied hemodynamics in feeding arteries of bowel and eyes before and 2 weeks after treatment induction with anti-TNFα.

Methods: Fifteen patients (5 females, 10 males, 35.4 ± 9.0 years, mean ± SD) with active Crohn's disease for 7.5 ± 7.7 years were enrolled. Ultrasound imaging was performed before and 2 weeks after treatment in SMA and retrobulbar arteries: central retinal (CRA), temporal posterior ciliary (TPCA) and ophthalmic (OA) arteries. Serum markers of inflammation (CRP and fibrinogen), arterial blood pressures (ABP) and skin flow-mediated dilation (sFMD) were measured and patients were compared to 10 control age- and sex-matched subjects.

Results: Before treatment, CRP and fibrinogen plasma concentrations, SMA BFV (339 ± 100 mL/min) were higher in patients than in controls by 8.5-fold (p < 0.001), 1.4-fold (p < 0.01) and 1.5-fold, respectively (p < 0.01). BFv in CRA (3.5 ± 0.7 cm/s) and TPCA (4.4 ± 1.0 cm/s), sFMD (371 ± 469%) were significantly lower than in controls by 83%, 73% and 52% respectively (p < 0.05). Two weeks after treatment, CRP and fibrinogen decreased, SMA BFV was normalized (230 ± 39 L/min, p < 0.01), BFv in CRA, TPCA and OA increased respectively to 4.0 ± 1.1 (p < 0.05), 5.2 ± 1.4 (p < 0.001), 8.9 ± 3 cm/s (p < 0.05). ABP and sFMD remained unchanged.

Conclusions: In active Crohn's disease, a first anti-TNFα administration rapidly normalized concomitantly plasma inflammatory markers and blood-flows in the mesenteric and retrobulbar arteries without affecting blood pressure and endothelial function.

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