Granulocyte Apheresis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Possible Mechanisms of Effect
We have studied the effects of granulocyte apheresis in 18 patients with ulcerative colitis and 6 with Crohn’s disease who had failed to respond to conventional therapy. Patients were treated with weekly apheresis using a granulocyte removal column. We found a mean reduction in circulating granulocytes of 1.29 × 109 cells/L with no significant alterations in red blood cell monocyte, total lymphocyte, absolute T-helper, or T-cytotoxic lymphocyte counts. There were no significant changes in complement levels or immunoglobulin subclasses. There was a signifycant increase in granulocyte adhesion and a reduction in L-selectin expression. The removal of granulocytes is unlikely to explain the effect of granulocytapheresis. The markedly increased expression of αm integrin/Mac-1 and low L-selectin expression alter the capability of granulocytes to migrate to sites of inflammation and may be responsible for the improvement observed in patients treated with granulocyte apheresis.
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