Background: Gastrin releasing peptide (GRP) and neuromedin B are bombesin (BN)-like peptides involved in regulating motility and inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, which may be useful in treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Three bombesin-like peptide receptors have been reported, but no studies have investigated their localisation in normal and inflamed human intestine.
Aim: To localise and characterise BN receptors in normal intestine and to see whether this is modified in IBD.
Methods: Full thickness intestinal tissue samples were collected from 13 patients with Crohn’s disease (CD), 11 with ulcerative colitis (UC), and 19 controls. BN receptor expression was characterised and quantified with storage phosphor autoradiography using BN, GRP, neuromedin B, and the synthetic analogue BN(6–14) as ligands.
Results: Only BN receptor type 2 (high affinity for GRP) was present in intestinal tissue. Minimal BN binding was detected in the mucosa. In normal colonic smooth muscle, mean BN binding was 336 fmol/g tissue in longitudinal muscle, including the myenteric plexus, and 71 fmol/g in circular muscle. In CD, colonic smooth muscle BN binding was significantly decreased (longitudinal muscle, 106; circular muscle, 19 fmol/g), in contrast to UC (377 and 62 fmol/g, respectively). In CD, a small (not significant) decrease was seen in ileal muscle compared with controls (111 v 169 and 18 v 32 fmol/g tissue for longitudinal and circular muscle, respectively).
Conclusions: Only the GRP receptor is expressed in human intestine; expression is highest in longitudinal muscle and myenteric plexus of the colon. Expression is decreased in inflamed and non-inflamed colon of CD, but not in UC.