Human proximal colon from patients with inflammatory bowel disease and from controls was studied by two techniques to detect tumor-associated antigen expression. A panel of four murine monoclonal antibodies that recognize tumor-associated antigens was used to test purified colonic mucins for epitope expression by radioimmunoassay and to test formalin-fixed, deparaffinized sections of colon by the immunoperoxidase technique. The panel included monoclonal antibodies 19-9, B72.3, DU-PAN-2, and CSLEX1. Colonic mucins were purified from uninvolved surgical specimens by gel filtration with Sepharose 4B and cesium chloride-guanidine hydrochloride density gradient ultracentrifugation. Purified mucins from uninvolved colonic mucosal specimens from 4 of 7 patients with ulcerative colitis expressed one or more of these epitopes by radioimmunoassay, whereas mucins from 6 disease controls did not. Reactivity patterns were heterogeneous. Immunoperoxidase testing demonstrated staining with two or more antibodies in 14 of 18 involved inflammatory bowel disease segments, whereas control sections rarely stained with these antibodies, with the exception of 19-9. Sections of uninvolved mucosa from 4 of 9 patients with ulcerative colitis stained with two or more antibodies. Staining patterns were heterogeneous. The results demonstrate that colonic expression of tumor-associated epitopes occurs frequently in involved segments from both patients with ulcerative colitis and with Crohn's disease, whereas only patients with ulcerative colitis frequently expressed these epitopes in uninvolved segments.
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