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High-Density IgG4+ Plasma Cells Infiltration Is Associated With Fibroplasia in Fibrostenotic Crohn’s Disease

Int J Surg Pathol. 2023 Mar 3:10668969231152242. doi: 10.1177/10668969231152242. Online ahead of print.


Transmural fibrosis and stricture formation are key pathogenic processes for Crohn’s disease that underlies clinical refractoriness, resulting in severe morbidity. The mechanisms for fibroplasia in Crohn’s are not fully elucidated. In this study, we identified a cohort of refractory Crohn’s disease with surgically resected bowel specimens including cases with bowel stricture and age-/sex-matched refractory disease without bowel stricture. Via immunohistochemistry, density and distribution of IgG4+ plasma cells in resected cases were analyzed. The histologic severity of fibrosis and association with gross evidence of stricture formation and IgG4+ plasma cells were comprehensively analyzed. Our results showed that density of IgG4+ plasma cells/high-power field (IgG4+ PCs/HPF) was significantly associated with increasing histologic fibrosis score (15 IgG4+ PCs/HPF in specimens with fibrosis score 0 vs 31 IgG4+ PC/HPF in fibrosis score 2 and 3, P = .039). Patients with gross evidence of stricture had significantly higher fibrosis scores compared to those without gross evidence of stricture (P = .044). There was a trend that mean IgG4+ plasma cell count was higher in Crohn’s disease with gross stricture formation (P = .26), although it did not reach statistical significance (likely due to multiple pathogenesis events involved in bowel stricture formation besides IgG4+ plasma cells; such as transmural fibrosis, muscular hypertrophy, transmural ulcer/scar formation, and muscular-neural dysfunction). Our findings indicate IgG4+ plasma cells are associated with increasing histologic fibrosis in Crohn’s. Further research is needed to establish a role for IgG4+ plasma cells in fibroplasia with an eye toward potential medical therapies targeting IgG4+ plasma cells to prevent transmural fibrosis.

PMID:36866568 | DOI:10.1177/10668969231152242

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