FOXP3+ regulatory T-cell counts correlate with histological response in Crohn's colitis treated with infliximab

Samuel Sloan, Perry Maxwell, Manuel Salto-Tellez, Maurice B. Loughrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease of unknown aetiology. Mucosal inflammatory dysregulation is likely important, with increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα). The chimeric monoclonal antibody, infliximab, inhibits TNFα and promotes intestinal mucosal healing. Despite this, many patients still require surgical intervention. Patients who have undergone colonic resection post-infliximab therapy, show markedly variable morphological response to treatment. FOXP3+ CD4+ regulatory T-cells have been shown to have a protective role in autoimmune/inflammatory diseases and their sequestration to the bowel is found in those treated with infliximab. We examined the immunohistochemical profile of lymphoid aggregates in tissue sections from post-infliximab Crohn's colitis resection specimens, classified as morphological responders or non-responders, defined in relation to the absence/presence of mucosal ulceration and active inflammation, and a control group. Results indicated no significant diffences in CD68-positive cell counts but increased FOXP3-positive (P = 0.02) and CD4-positive (P = 0.05) cell counts in responders versus non-responders. Untreated control scores were similar to non-responders. Although based on small study numbers, our results suggest an association between upregulation of FOXP3+/CD4+ regulatory T-cells and morphological response to infliximab therapy. This represents a possible quantitative methodology for monitoring therapeutic response to infliximab therapy, based on immunohistochemical evaluation of endoscopic biopsy specimens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-7
Number of pages4
JournalPathology international
Issue number12
Early online date30 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


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