Scientific corner

Developments in the apheresis procedure for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease

Alvaro A Pineda 1 , Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2006 Jan;12 Suppl 1:S10-4.

Initially used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, nonselective therapeutic leukocytapheresis was applied to the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as early as the 1980s. Since then, the process has been further refined and 2 blood perfusion systems using membrane filtration are presently employed in Japan and Europe for the selective removal of leukocytes in patients with IBD: Cellsorba is a column of polyethylenephtarate fibers that captures lymphocytes and granulocytes, and Adacolumn is a column of cellulose acetate beads that selectively adsorb granulocytes and monocytes. These systems overcome the limitations of centrifugation. Leukocytapheresis has been shown to exert an overall anti-inflammatory effect, as peripheral leukocytes demonstrated a diminished capacity to produce inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-1beta. In addition, down-regulation in the expression of adhesion molecule L-selectin and a shift toward a more immature granulocyte phenotype were observed in the peripheral blood. The safety and beneficial therapeutic effect of leukocytapheresis in IBD are being investigated further.

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