Influence of topically and systemically active steroids on circulating leukocytes in Crohn's disease
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OBJECTIVE: Budesonide, although only topically active, is effective in the treatment of Crohn's disease. This study was performed to compare the clinical efficacies of budesonide and prednisolone in relation to the activation status of circulating leukocytes. METHODS: Twenty-four patients with active Crohn's disease were randomized to treatment with either budesonide or 6-methylprednisolone. Clinical response was monitored by the Crohn's disease activity index, C-reactive protein, and orosomucoid. Expression of CD25 and CD71 on T cells and CD64 on neutrophils was determined by flow cytometry. The release of TNF-alpha and IL-1beta by peripheral blood mononuclear cells was measured by ELISA. RESULTS: After 2 wk of treatment a clinical response was observed in both groups, but it was more accentuated in patients treated with prednisolone. At baseline an upregulation of CD71 and CD64, but not CD25, was found in active patients. Prednisolone significantly decreased the expression of CD64 and the release of TNF-alpha and IL-1beta, but did not alter the expression of CD25 and CD71. Budesonide treatment failed to exert any effect on circulating leukocytes. CONCLUSIONS: The inability of budesonide to downregulate activated circulating leukocytes may contribute to the somewhat lower clinical efficacy of this topical steroid in the treatment of active Crohn's disease.
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