Reduced CD1d expression in colonic epithelium in microscopic colitis
CD1d is a member of a major histocompatibility complex class I-like molecule family. Its function may involve presenting microbial nonpeptide or lipidic antigens to T lymphocytes, therefore to serve as an important factor in normal mucosal immunity of the gastrointestinal tract. In this study, the expression level of CD1d in microscopic colitis (ie, collagenous and lymphocytic colitis) was examined, and compared with that in normal colonic mucosa. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded colon biopsies with diagnosis of lymphocytic colitis (19 cases), collagenous colitis (6 cases), and no pathologic change (20 cases) were studied immunohistochemically using monoclonal antibodies against human CD1d, CD3, CD4, and CD8. CD1d staining in the epithelium and lamina propria was graded along a scale of 0 to 4. Intraepithelial CD3-positive lymphocytes were counted in an area of 300 epithelial cells for each specimen. The results show that CD1d was expressed in normal colonic epithelial cells, primarily on the basolateral membranes with a concentrated intracellular pool in the subnuclear region. The expression level was markedly reduced in both lymphocytic colitis (P<0.001) and collagenous colitis (P<0.001), along with a significant increase in the number of intraepithelial CD3/CD8 lymphocytes (P<0.001). These findings suggest that microscopic colitis is associated with decreased epithelial expression of CD1d, an important immunoregulatory molecule in the gastrointestinal tract.