Colonic Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide (VIP) in ulcerative colitis - A radioimmunoassay and immunohistochemical study
Milićević, Zorka T.
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Background/Aims: In this study, we present radioimmunoassay data describing the concentration of Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide (VIP) in both plasma and colonic biopsies, as well as immunostaining of VIPergic innervation in mucosal biopsies of normal subjects and patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). Patients and Methods: Thirty three patients with UC and 17 healthy subjects were investigated. All UC patients suffered from active disease. Fasting circulating levels of VIP in plasma as well as tissue concentrations were measured by radioimmunoassay. For the immunohistochemistry, polyclonal antibody against VIP and the streptavidin-biotin peroxidase complex technique were carried out. Results: Overall plasma VIP concentrations in the UC patients were similar to those in the controls. Significantly decreased concentrations of VIP were found in UC of rectum compared to the normal tissue. However, both plasma VIP values and tissue concentrations were found to be significantly lower in p...atients expressing minimal or mild active disease according to clinical activity index (AI) and histological activity index (HAI), but marked increase of plasma VIP was clear in UC patients with moderate or severe AI and HAI. There was a trend towards increased tissue concentrations of VIP in the group of patients with moderate or severe AI and HAI. Our immunohistochemical analysis of VIP fibers and nerve cell bodies revealed consistently weaker VIP-immunoreactivity in the rectum in UC patients with minimal or mild HAI. Simultaneously, in the rectal biopsies from UC patients with moderate and severe disease, the fibers in the lamina propria and ganglion cells in the submucous plexus were markedly increased in density and in degree of immunostaining. Very strong immunoreactivity was also found in inflammatory cells of the lamina propria as well as in the epithelial layer of the biopsies from UC patients with obvious disease. Conclusions: Our study shows clearly the heterogeneity in the response of VIP plasma level as well as rectum concentration and distribution in UC patients at different stages of the active disease. The possible role of VIP in the VIP in the colon suggests that further studies of the alterations of this gut peptide may be useful in the understanding of UC pathophysiology.