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von Rahden, Kircher, Landmann, Schlegel, Lazariotou, Jurowich, Germer, Grimm (2012) Glucocorticoid-induced tumour necrosis factor receptor expression: a potential molecular link between steroid intake and complicated diverticulitis? Colorectal disease 14(10) 1276-86


Immunosuppression and steroid medication have been identified as risk factors for complicated sigmoid diverticulitis. The underlying molecular mechanisms have not yet been elucidated. We hypothesized that glucocorticoid-induced tumour necrosis factor receptor (GITR) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) might play a role.,GITR and MMP-9 were analysed at protein [immunohistochemistry/immunofluorescence (IF)] and messenger RNA level (real-time polymerase chain reaction) in surgical specimens with complicated and non-complicated diverticulitis (n=101). IF double staining and regression analysis were performed for both markers. GITR expression was correlated with clinical data and its usefulness as a diagnostic test was investigated.,High GITR expression (≥41%) was observed in the inflammatory infiltrate in complicated diverticulitis, in contrast to non-complicated diverticulitis where GITR expression was low (P<0.001). High GITR expression was significantly associated with steroid use and pulmonary diseases (both P<0.001). MMP-9 expression correlated with GITR expression (R(2) =0.7268, P<0.0001, r=0.85) as demonstrated with IF double-staining experiments. Co-labelling of GITR with CD68, but not CD15, suggested that GITR-expressing cells in diverticulitis are macrophages. GITR expression was superior to C-reactive protein (CRP), white cell count and temperature in distinguishing complicated and non-complicated diverticulitis.,Our results suggest that GITR expression in inflammatory cells might potentially indicate a molecular link between steroid use and complicated forms of acute sigmoid diverticulitis. Increased MMP-9 expression by GITR signalling might explain the morphological changes in the colonic wall of perforated and phlegmonous diverticulitis. Analysis of soluble GITR might be a promising strategy for future research.


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