Quantitative Analysis of Intramucosal Mast Cells in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Comparison with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Remission

Lifang Fan, Mary Wong, X. Fan, Yuntian Hong, Kongliang Sun, Congqing Jiang, Xiaoyu Xie, Hanlin L. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Goal:We aimed to study the density of intramucosal mast cells in histologically normal colonic mucosa biopsied from patients with a clinical diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).Background:Mast cell activation has been thought to implicate in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Whether it serves a role in the pathogenesis of IBS remains controversial.Study:A total of 127 colonoscopic mucosal biopsies were immunohistochemically stained, including 51 IBS, 66 IBD, and 10 normal control samples. Intact mast cells were quantified in 3 high power fields (HPF) in areas showing the highest density.Results:CD117 was sensitive in detecting mast cells in colonic mucosa. The mast cell counts in all biopsies ranged from 2 to 60 per HPF (mean=17.5±7.2). The density of intramucosal mast cells were similar among IBS, IBD and normal control groups (P=0.6733). IBD in remission versus IBS (17.1±8.0 vs. 18.1±7.0; P=0.4804), Crohn disease versus ulcerative colitis (17.1±10.4 vs. 17.2±5.2; P=0.9463), IBS with diarrhea versus without diarrhea (19.5±6.3 vs. 16.8±6.9; P=0.1404). Forty biopsies (31.5%) showing ≥20 mast cells per HPF appeared to equally distribute among various disease groups (P=0.7283).Conclusions:There is no significant difference in the number of intramucosal mast cells between IBS and IBD that show normal colonic biopsies. In IBS patients, the number of intramucosal mast cell does not correlate with symptoms. The mast cell count (≥20/HPF) is not a reliable criterion for the diagnosis of IBS or for the distinction between patients with IBS and those with IBD in remission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-249
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of clinical gastroenterology
Volume55
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • mast cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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