Crohn’s disease patient serum changes protein expression in a human mesenchymal stem cell model in a linear relationship to patients’ disease stage and to bone mineral density

Blaschke M1Koepp R1Lenz C2,3Kruppa J4,5Jung K4,6Siggelkow H1,7.

J Clin Transl Endocrinol. 2018 Jun 19;13:26-38. doi: 10.1016/j.jcte.2018.06.002. eCollection 2018 Sep.




Crohn’s disease (CD) is associated with a higher prevalence of osteoporosis, a complication that is recognized as a significant cause of morbidity. Its pathogenesis is controversial, but the activity of CD is one contributing factor.


We stimulated SCP-1 cells (mesenchymal stem cell line) under osteogenic conditions with serum from adult patients with CD in the symptomatic phase (SP) and in remission (R) and with control sera. Concentrations of IL-6, IL-1 beta, and TNF alpha in the sera were measured. Patients were classified as normal or osteopenic/osteoporotic based on bone mineral density (BMD) T-score measurements. After 14 days in culture, protein expression and gene ontology (GO) annotation analysis was performed.


Cytokine concentrations (IL-6, IL-1 beta, TNF alpha) varied within sera groups. None of the cytokines were significantly increased in the symptomatic phase compared to remission. Protein analysis revealed 17 proteins regulated by the SP versus R phase sera of disease. A linear relationship between CDAI (Crohn’s disease activity index) and normalized protein expression of APOA1 and 2, TTR, CDKAL1 and TUBB6 could be determined. Eleven proteins were found to be differentially regulated comparing osteoporosis-positive and osteoporosis-negative sera. Gene annotation and further analysis identified these genes as part of heme and erythrocyte metabolism, as well as involved in hypoxia and in endocytosis. A significant linear relationship between bone mineral density and normalized protein expression could be determined for proteins FABP3 and TTR.


Our explorative results confirm our hypothesis that factors in serum from patients with CD change the protein expression pattern of human immortalized osteoblast like cells. We suggest, that these short time changes indeed influence factors of bone metabolism.


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