In an earlier work, the role of heat shock protein (Hsp60) in the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis (UC) was suggested by its significant increase in the pathological mucosa parallel with an increase in inflammatory cells. More data in this direction are reported in this work.
We analyzed by immunohistochemistry biopsies of colon tissue from 2 groups of patients with UC and treated with either 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) alone or in combination with a probiotic. We looked for inflammatory markers and Hsp60. Both the treatments were effective in reducing symptoms but the group treated with both 5-ASA and probiotics showed better clinical results. Amelioration of symptoms was associated with reduction of both inflammation and Hsp60, a reduction that was most marked in the group treated with 5-ASA and probiotics.
The levels of Hsp60 positively correlated with those of CD68-positive cells, and double immunofluorescence showed a high index of colocalization of the chaperonin and CD68 in lamina propria. Immunoelectron microscopy showed that Hsp60-classically a mitochondrial protein-was abundantly also present in cytosol in biopsies taken at the time of diagnosis, but not after the treatment.
Our data suggest that Hsp60 is an active player in pathogenesis of UC and it can be hypothesized that the chaperonin is responsible, at least in part, for initiation and maintenance of disease.
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