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1.  Extracorporeal Photopheresis (ECP) in Patients with Steroid-Dependent Crohn’s Disease: An Open-Label, Multi-Center, Prospective Trial 
Inflammatory bowel diseases  2013;19(2):293-300.
Background
ECP involves ex vivo leukocyte treatment with methoxsalen and UVA light to generate a tolerogenic response. A previous trial demonstrated that ECP permits corticosteroid withdrawal in steroid-dependent Crohn’s disease (CD) patients who were in clinical remission. We studied the effect of ECP on steroid withdrawal in steroid-dependent CD.
Methods
Patients with CD for ≥6 months, in remission at baseline while on steroids, but who had failed at ≥1 steroid withdrawal were included. Patients received 2 ECP treatments every 2 weeks for the 24-week steroid tapering period and underwent steroid-tapering. Patients completing steroid tapering could receive maintenance ECP (2 treatments/week) every month for 24 weeks.
Results
31 patients (CDAI 91; IBDQ 172.5) were enrolled (baseline corticosteroid dose − 20 mg/day). 65% were refractory to/intolerant of anti-TNF agents or immunosuppressants. After 24 weeks of ECP, 7 of 31 (22.6%) patients discontinued steroids while maintaining a CDAI of < 150. At Week 24, the steroid dose for the remaining patients on corticosteroids was 10 mg (p < 0.003 vs. baseline) with a CDAI of 110 and an IBDQ of 179. Following maintenance treatment, 3 patients remained in steroid-free remission. The 10 patients in the study and receiving ECP at Week 48 had a steroid dose of 3.5 mg with a CDAI of 40 and an IBDQ of 188.
Conclusions
ECP permitted discontinuation or reduction of steroids in a population of refractory steroid-dependent CD patients. ECP may be useful in permitting steroid withdrawal in selected steroid-dependent CD patients. Ideally, these results need to be confirmed in a “sham-controlled” clinical trial.
doi:10.1002/ibd.23012
PMCID: PMC3437245  PMID: 22573600
Extracorporeal Photopheresis; Crohn’s Disease; Steroid Dependent
2.  Peripheral Neutrophil Functions and Cell Signalling in Crohn`s Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e84521.
The role of the innate immunity in the pathogenesis of Crohn’s disease (CD), an inflammatory bowel disease, is a subject of increasing interest. Neutrophils (PMN) are key members of the innate immune system which migrate to sites of bacterial infection and initiate the defence against microbes by producing reactive oxygen species (ROS), before undergoing apoptosis. It is believed that impaired innate immune responses contribute to CD, but it is as yet unclear whether intrinsic defects in PMN signal transduction and corresponding function are present in patients with quiescent disease. We isolated peripheral blood PMN from CD patients in remission and healthy controls (HC), and characterised migration, bacterial uptake and killing, ROS production and cell death signalling. Whereas IL8-induced migration and signalling were normal in CD, trans-epithelial migration was significantly impaired. Uptake and killing of E. coli were normal. However, an increased ROS production was observed in CD PMN after stimulation with the bacterial peptide analogue fMLP, which was mirrored by an increased fMLP-triggered ERK and AKT signal activation. Interestingly, cleavage of caspase-3 and caspase-8 during GMCSF-induced rescue from cell-death was decreased in CD neutrophils, but a reduced survival signal emanating from STAT3 and AKT pathways was concomitantly observed, resulting in a similar percentage of end stage apoptotic PMN in CD patients and HC. In toto, these data show a disturbed signal transduction activation and functionality in peripheral blood PMN from patients with quiescent CD, which point toward an intrinsic defect in innate immunity in these patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084521
PMCID: PMC3868631  PMID: 24367671
3.  Sex-dimorphic adverse drug reactions to immune suppressive agents in inflammatory bowel disease 
AIM: To analyze sex differences in adverse drug reactions (ADR) to the immune suppressive medication in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients.
METHODS: All IBD patients attending the IBD outpatient clinic of a referral hospital were identified through the electronic diagnosis registration system. The electronic medical records of IBD patients were reviewed and the files of those patients who have used immune suppressive therapy for IBD, i.e., thiopurines, methotrexate, cyclosporine, tacrolimus and anti-tumor necrosis factor agents (anti-TNF); infliximab (IFX), adalimumab (ADA) and/or certolizumab, were further analyzed. The reported ADR to immune suppressive drugs were noted. The general definition of ADR used in clinical practice comprised the occurrence of the ADR in the temporal relationship with its disappearance upon discontinuation of the medication. Patients for whom the required information on drug use and ADR was not available in the electronic medical record and patients with only one registered contact and no further follow-up at the outpatient clinic were excluded. The difference in the incidence and type of ADR between male and female IBD patients were analyzed statistically by χ2 test.
RESULTS: In total, 1009 IBD patients were identified in the electronic diagnosis registration system. Out of these 1009 patients, 843 patients were eligible for further analysis. There were 386 males (46%), mean age 42 years (range: 16-87 years) with a mean duration of the disease of 14 years (range: 0-54 years); 578 patients with Crohn’s disease, 244 with ulcerative colitis and 21 with unclassified colitis. Seventy percent (586 pts) of patients used any kind of immune suppressive agents at a certain point of the disease course, the majority of the patients (546 pts, 65%) used thiopurines, 176 pts (21%) methotrexate, 46 pts (5%) cyclosporine and one patient tacrolimus. One third (240 pts, 28%) of patients were treated with anti-TNF, the majority of patients (227 pts, 27%) used IFX, 99 (12%) used ADA and five patients certolizumab. There were no differences between male and female patients in the use of immune suppressive agents. With regards to ADR, no differences between males and females were observed in the incidence of ADR to thiopurines, methotrexate and cyclosporine. Among 77 pts who developed ADR to one or more anti-TNF agents, significantly more females (54 pts, 39% of all anti-TNF treated women) than males (23 pts, 23% of all anti-TNF treated men) experienced ADR to an anti-TNF agent [P = 0.011; odds ratio (OR) 2.2, 95%CI 1.2-3.8]. The most frequent ADR to both anti-TNF agents, IFX and ADA, were allergic reactions (15% of all IFX users and 7% of all patients treated with ADA) and for both agents a significantly higher rate of allergic reactions in females compared with males was observed. As a result of ADR, 36 patients (15% of all patients using anti-TNF) stopped the treatment, with significantly higher stopping rate among females (27 females, 19% vs 9 males, 9%, P = 0.024).
CONCLUSION: Treatment with anti-TNF antibodies is accompanied by sexual dimorphic profile of ADR with female patients being more at risk for allergic reactions and subsequent discontinuation of the treatment.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v18.i47.6967
PMCID: PMC3531681  PMID: 23322995
Adverse drug reactions; Sexual dimorphism; Infliximab; Adalimumab; Inflammatory bowel disease
4.  STAT1, STAT6 and Adenosine 3′,5′-Cyclic Monophosphate (cAMP) Signaling Drive SOCS3 Expression in Inactive Ulcerative Colitis 
Molecular Medicine  2012;18(1):1412-1419.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic disease associated with long periods of quiescent disease followed by fulminant exacerbation. Imminent relapse in UC is associated with high mucosal expression of suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3); hence, knowledge of the mechanisms driving mucosal SOCS3 expression may provide important clues as to rational therapy. Thus, here we aim to characterize the molecular forces driving SOCS3 expression in the mucosal compartment, focusing on druggable pathways. The colon epithelial cell line Caco-2 was stimulated with interferon (IFN)-γ, interleukin (IL)-4 or prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) to allow correlations between SOCS3 expression with signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1), STAT6 and adenosine 3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) signaling, respectively. The physiological relevance of the findings obtained was assessed by immunohistochemical staining for the activated forms of STAT1, STAT6, protein kinase A (PKA)-Cγ and cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) in biopsies from inactive UC patients and controls. Stimulation with IFN-γ, IL-4 or PGE2 induced activation of STAT1, STAT6 and cAMP, respectively, in colonic cells, without any signs of concomitant STAT3 activation. Forced activation of all these signaling pathways was sufficient for SOCS3 expression. Biopsies from patients with inactive UC showed significant increase of phosphorylated STAT1 (p-STAT1) (p < 0.0001), p-STAT6 (p = 0.0001), p-PKA-Cγ (p = 0.0003) and p-CREB (p = 0.0025) expression compared with controls. STAT3-independent SOCS3 induction in inactive UC involves multiple proinflammatory signaling pathways and contradicts the usefulness of pathway-specific antiinflammatory drugs for preventing relapse. Our findings suggest that broad-spectrum antiinflammatory drugs are essential to counteract increases in SOCS3 expression and exacerbation of disease. Our results highlight the multifactorial nature of the factors that cause exacerbation in UC.
doi:10.2119/molmed.2012.00277
PMCID: PMC3533641  PMID: 23154639
5.  Small bowel Crohn’s disease: MR enteroclysis and capsule endoscopy compared to balloon-assisted enteroscopy 
Abdominal Imaging  2011;37(3):397-403.
New modalities are available to visualize the small bowel in patients with Crohn’s disease (CD). The aim of this study was to compare the diagnostic yield of magnetic resonance enteroclysis (MRE) and capsule endoscopy (CE) to balloon-assisted enteroscopy (BAE) in patients with suspected or established CD of the small bowel. Consecutive, consenting patients first underwent MRE followed by CE and BAE. Patients with high-grade stenosis at MRE did not undergo CE. Reference standard for small bowel CD activity was a combination of BAE and an expert panel consensus diagnosis. Analysis included 38 patients, 27 (71%) females, mean age 36 (20–74) years, with suspected (n = 20) or established (n = 18) small bowel CD: 16 (42%) were diagnosed with active CD, and 13 (34%) by MRE with suspected high-grade stenosis, who consequently did not undergo CE. The reference standard defined high-grade stenosis in 10 (26%) patients. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value of MRE and CE for small bowel CD activity were 73 and 57%, 90 and 89%, 88 and 67%, and 78 and 84%, respectively. CE was complicated by capsule retention in one patient. MRE has a higher sensitivity and PPV than CE in small bowel CD. The use of CE is considerably limited by the high prevalence of stenotic lesions in these patients.
doi:10.1007/s00261-011-9816-8
PMCID: PMC3345178  PMID: 22120660
Magnetic resonance imaging; Enteroclysis; Small bowel; Inflammatory small bowel disease; Capsule endoscopy; Crohn’s disease; Balloon-assisted enteroscopy; Medicine & Public Health; Hepatology; Gastroenterology; Imaging / Radiology
6.  Biomarker-based prediction of inflammatory bowel disease-related colorectal cancer: a case–control study 
Cellular Oncology (Dordrecht)  2011;34(2):107-117.
Background
Regular colonoscopic surveillance for detection of dysplasia is recommended in longstanding inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), however, its sensitivity is disputed. Screening accuracy may increase by using a biomarker-based surveillance strategy.
Methods
A case-control study was performed to determine the prognostic value of DNA ploidy and p53 in IBD-related neoplasia. Cases with IBD-related colorectal cancer (CRC), detected in our surveillance program between 1985-2008, were selected and matched with two controls, for age, gender, disease characteristics, interval of follow-up, PSC, and previous surgery. Biopsies were assessed for DNA ploidy, p53, grade of inflammation and neoplasia. Progression to neoplasia was analyzed with Cox regression analysis, adjusting for potentially confounding variables.
Results
Adjusting for age, we found statistically significant Hazard ratios (HR) between development of CRC, and low grade dysplasia (HR5.5; 95%CI 2.6-11.5), abnormal DNA ploidy (DNA index (DI) 1.06-1.34, HR4.7; 95%CI 2.9-7.8 and DI>1.34, HR6.6; 95%CI 3.7-11.7) and p53 immunopositivity (HR3.0; 95%CI 1.9-4.7) over time. When adjusting for all confounders, abnormal DNA ploidy (DI 1.06-1.34, HR4.7; 95%CI 2.7-7.9 and DI>1.34, HR5.0; 95%CI 2.5-10.0) and p53 immunopositivity (HR1.7; 95%CI 1.0-3.1) remained statistically significant predictive of neoplasia.
Conclusion
In longstanding IBD, abnormal DNA ploidy and p53 immunopositivity are important risk factors of developing CRC. The yield of surveillance may potentially increase by adding these biomarkers to the routine assessment of biopsies.
doi:10.1007/s13402-010-0006-4
PMCID: PMC3063562  PMID: 21327897
Inflammatory bowel disease; Colorectal cancer; Surveillance; Abnormal DNA ploidy; p53 immunopositivity
7.  Role of defective autophagia and the intestinal flora in Crohn disease 
Self Nonself  2010;1(4):323-327.
The precise mechanisms underlying the development of Crohn disease (CD) remain controversial, but sufficient data have been collected to suggest that an uncontrolled immune response within the intestinal mucosa leads to inflammation in a genetically susceptible host. Although lack of mucosal regulatory T cells causes colitis in humans and experimental rodents, patients with CD have more rather than less regulatory activity in the intestine, apparently excluding defects in tolerance as the cause of CD. Genome-wide association studies have identified many gene variants that confer susceptibility and which seem associated to diminished functioning of especially innate immunity. In apparent agreement, CD patients are impaired with respect to innate immune responses and controlling bacterial flora in the intestine. Furthermore, severe genetic deficiencies in innate immunity, like e.g., lack of NADP oxidase activity or diminished function of the Wiskott Aldrich syndrome protein are associated with colitis in mice and men, and are often mistakenly diagnosed as CD. Thus we favor the view that the primary defect in CD is a lack in innate immunity, causing second tier immunological defenses to combat otherwise easily controlled bacterial breaches of the mucosal barrier.
doi:10.4161/self.1.4.13990
PMCID: PMC3062387  PMID: 21487507
ATG16; GWAS; IRGM; NOD2; Crohn disease; ulcerative colitis; IL10; tregs
8.  Patient’s Perspectives Important for Early Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Treatment in Inflammatory Bowel Disease 
Digestion  2009;79(1):30-35.
Background/Aim
We hypothesized that limited information is given to patients on the risks and benefits of individual therapy, and feedback is lacking to verify if patients correctly interpreted the given information. We assessed the perspectives of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) concerning the treatment-associated risks/benefits of infliximab.
Methods
Patients were asked to complete a survey regarding the benefits and risks of infliximab. Results are reported as descriptive statistics. Comparisons between groups were analyzed using independent t tests and the Kruskal-Wallis test.
Results
In total, 152 IBD patients completed the questionnaire. Fifty-seven percent (78/138) estimated the 1-year remission rate from infliximab to be >50%. Seventy-one percent (104/146) indicated they would not take a drug with risks reflecting those estimated for infliximab if the 1-year remission rate was <75%. Crohn’s disease patients and those recalling a discussion regarding the risks/benefits of infliximab treatment had higher estimates of the 1-year remission rate with infliximab than ulcerative colitis patients (p = 0.03) and patients who did not recall previous information (p = 0.03). Perceptions were independent of age and disease duration.
Conclusion
IBD patients misperceive the risks and benefits of infliximab. The majority of patients would not accept treatment-related risks if the 1-year remission rate was <75%. Counseling on treatment-associated risks and benefits should be ameliorated.
doi:10.1159/000203638
PMCID: PMC2846412  PMID: 19246918
Inflammatory bowel disease; Patients’ perspectives; Infliximab
9.  Local Immune Regulation of Mucosal Inflammation by Tacrolimus 
Digestive Diseases and Sciences  2009;55(9):2514-2519.
Purpose
Tacrolimus is a potent immunomodulator that is effective in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, potential toxicity and systemic effects with oral intake limit its use. Local tacrolimus treatment is effective in a subgroup of proctitis patients. This study aimed to evaluate whether colonic mucosal immune cells are susceptible to locally applied tacrolimus in vitro. Our in vivo studies aimed at evaluating whether local tacrolimus treatment in mice would bring about local immune suppression and to compare colonic and systemic tacrolimus levels after locally and systemically applied tacrolimus.
Results
In vitro tacrolimus inhibited the activation of multiple cell types present in colonic tissue; lamina propria T cells, NKT cells, and both classical- and non- classical antigen presenting cells. However, the cytokine production of epithelial cells was not inhibited by tacrolimus at these concentrations. After rectal administration in mice, tacrolimus blood levels were comparable to those obtained by oral intake. However, rectally treated mice exhibited a 14-fold higher concentration of tacrolimus within their colonic tissue than orally treated mice. Moreover, rectally applied tacrolimus resulted in a local but not a systemic immune suppression in mice.
Conclusions
Tacrolimus inhibits activation of several pivotal immune cells of the intestinal mucosa. Murine studies indicate that colonic application of tacrolimus induces local rather than systemic immune suppression.
doi:10.1007/s10620-009-1047-2
PMCID: PMC2914281  PMID: 19949865
Colonic mucosa; Tacrolimus; Local immune suppression; Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
10.  The impact of biologics on health-related quality of life in patients with inflammatory bowel disease 
Background:
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterized by a chronic relapsing inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Adult IBD patients suffer from a disabling disease which greatly affects health-related quality of life (HRQoL). A worse HRQoL in these patients may result in a defensive and ineffective use of medical attention and thus higher medical costs. Because of its chronic nature, IBD may also cause psychological problems in many patients which may also influence HRQoL and care-seeking behavior. An important factor reducing HRQoL is disease activity. Induction of remission and long-term remission are important goals for improving HRQoL. Furthermore, remission is associated with a decreased need for hospitalization and surgery and increased employment, which in turn improve HRQoL. Treatment strategies available for many years are corticosteroids, 5-aminosalicylates and immunnosuppressants, but these treatments did not show significant long-term improvement on HRQoL. The biologics, which induce rapid and sustained remission, may improve HRQoL.
Objective:
To review and evaluate the current literature on the effect of biologics on HRQoL of IBD patients.
Methods:
We performed a MEDLINE search and reviewed the effect of different biologics on HRQoL. The following subjects and synonyms of these terms were used: inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, quality of life, health-related quality of life, fatigue, different anti-TNF medication, and biologicals/biologics (MESH). Studies included were limited to English-language, adult population, full-text, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled in which HRQoL was measured.
Results:
Out of 202 identified articles, 8 randomized controlled trials (RCT) met the inclusion criteria. Two RCTs on infliximab showed significant improvement of HRQoL compared to placebo which was sustained over the long term. One RCT on adalimumab showed a significant and sustained improvement of HRQoL compared to placebo. This study showed also significant decrease of fatigue in the adalimumab-treated patients. Three RCTs on certolizumab showed a significant improvement of HRQoL in the intervention group compared to placebo. Two RCTs of natalizumab treatment were found. One study showed significant and sustained improvement compared to placebo, and also scores of HRQoL comparable to that in the general population, but in the other no significant results were found.
Conclusion:
The biologics infliximab, adalimumab, certolizumab, and natalizumab demonstrated significant improvement of HRQoL of IBD patients compared with placebo. However, we found differences in improvement of HRQoL between the different biologics.
PMCID: PMC3108643  PMID: 21694833
inflammatory bowel disease; health-related quality of life; health care costs; biologics
11.  Farnesoid X Receptor (FXR) Activation and FXR Genetic Variation in Inflammatory Bowel Disease 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23745.
Background
We previously showed that activation of the bile salt nuclear receptor Farnesoid X Receptor (FXR) protects against intestinal inflammation in mice. Reciprocally, these inflammatory mediators may decrease FXR activation. We investigated whether FXR activation is repressed in the ileum and colon of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients in remission. Additionally, we evaluated whether genetic variation in FXR is associated with IBD.
Methods
mRNA expression of FXR and FXR target gene SHP was determined in ileal and colonic biopsies of patients with Crohn's colitis (n = 15) and ulcerative colitis (UC; n = 12), all in clinical remission, and healthy controls (n = 17). Seven common tagging SNPs and two functional SNPs in FXR were genotyped in 2355 Dutch IBD patients (1162 Crohn's disease (CD) and 1193 UC) and in 853 healthy controls.
Results
mRNA expression of SHP in the ileum is reduced in patients with Crohn's colitis but not in patients with UC compared to controls. mRNA expression of villus marker Villin was correlated with FXR and SHP in healthy controls, a correlation that was weaker in UC patients and absent in CD patients. None of the SNPs was associated with IBD, UC or CD, nor with clinical subgroups of CD.
Conclusions
FXR activation in the ileum is decreased in patients with Crohn's colitis. This may be secondary to altered enterohepatic circulation of bile salts or transrepression by inflammatory signals but does not seem to be caused by the studied SNPs in FXR. Increasing FXR activity by synthetic FXR agonists may have benefit in CD patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023745
PMCID: PMC3161760  PMID: 21887309
12.  Laparoscopic ileocolic resection versus infliximab treatment of distal ileitis in Crohn's disease: a randomized multicenter trial (LIR!C-trial) 
BMC Surgery  2008;8:15.
Background
With the availability of infliximab, nowadays recurrent Crohn's disease, defined as disease refractory to immunomodulatory agents that has been treated with steroids, is generally treated with infliximab. Infliximab is an effective but expensive treatment and once started it is unclear when therapy can be discontinued. Surgical resection has been the golden standard in recurrent Crohn's disease. Laparoscopic ileocolic resection proved to be safe and is characterized by a quick symptom reduction.
The objective of this study is to compare infliximab treatment with laparoscopic ileocolic resection in patients with recurrent Crohn's disease of the distal ileum with respect to quality of life and costs.
Methods/design
The study is designed as a multicenter randomized clinical trial including patients with Crohn's disease located in the terminal ileum that require infliximab treatment following recent consensus statements on inflammatory bowel disease treatment: moderate to severe disease activity in patients that fail to respond to steroid therapy or immunomodulatory therapy. Patients will be randomized to receive either infliximab or undergo a laparoscopic ileocolic resection. Primary outcomes are quality of life and costs. Secondary outcomes are hospital stay, early and late morbidity, sick leave and surgical recurrence. In order to detect an effect size of 0.5 on the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire at a 5% two sided significance level with a power of 80%, a sample size of 65 patients per treatment group can be calculated. An economic evaluation will be performed by assessing the marginal direct medical, non-medical and time costs and the costs per Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) will be calculated. For both treatment strategies a cost-utility ratio will be calculated. Patients will be included from December 2007.
Discussion
The LIR!C-trial is a randomized multicenter trial that will provide evidence whether infliximab treatment or surgery is the best treatment for recurrent distal ileitis in Crohn's disease.
Trial registration
Nederlands Trial Register NTR1150
doi:10.1186/1471-2482-8-15
PMCID: PMC2533646  PMID: 18721465

Results 1-12 (12)