Serum Serotonin Differentiates Between Disease Activity States in Crohn's Patients
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Background Diagnosis and monitoring of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) utilize invasive methods including endoscopy and tissue biopsy, with blood tests being less specific for IBDs. Substantial evidence has implicated involvement of the neurohormone serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) in the pathophysiology of IBDs. The current study investigated whether serum 5-HT is elevated in patients with active ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn's disease (CD). Methods Serum samples were obtained from
... were obtained from a German cohort of 96 CD and UC patients with active disease, refractory disease, or remission of disease based upon their disease activity index (DAI) and disease history. High pressure liquid chromatography with tandemmass spectrometry was used to measure 5-HT, tryptophan (TRP), and kynurenine (KYN) levels in the serum samples, and Luminex Multiplex ELISA was used to measure cytokine levels. Intestinal mucosal biopsies were obtained from a separate cohort of healthy and CD patients, and the immunoreactivity of the serotonin transporter (SERT) was determined. Results There was no statistically significant difference in TRP or KYN levels between disease categories in either UC or CD. Interestingly, 5-HT levels were significantly elevated in patients with active CD but not active UC when compared with the levels in remission or refractory disease. Serum 5-HT was superior to C-reactive protein and circulating cytokines in differentiating between disease categories in CD. Additionally, SERT immunoreactivity was decreased in the ileum and colon of patients with CD compared to healthy controls. Conclusion We have shown that the serum 5-HT can differentiate between active disease and refractory disease or remission among CD patients, emphasizing the potential suitability of serum 5-HT as an auxiliary measure in diagnosing active CD.