Colonic Epithelial Surfactant Protein D Expression Correlates with Inflammation in Clinical Colonic Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

AB Nexoe, B Pilecki, Sebastian von Huth, S Husby, AA Pedersen, S Detlefsen, N Marcussen, JB Moeller, U Holmskov, GL Sorensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are chronic disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Surfactant protein D (SP-D) is expressed in the intestinal epithelium and is essential for innate host defense and regulation of inflammatory responses. Genetic variations of SP-D are associated with IBD, but the effects of SP-D in clinical disease development have not been clarified. We hypothesized that colonic epithelial SP-D expression is increased in parallel with intestinal inflammation with the capacity to dampen deleterious effects.

Methods: Surgical specimens from IBD patients including Crohn's disease (n = 9) and ulcerative colitis (n = 18) were scored for expression of SP-D and inflammatory activity. Cohoused Sftpd+/+ and Sftpd-/- mouse littermates were subjected to dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) for 7 days to induce colitis. Colonic tissue was scored for histologic damage and analyzed for inflammatory markers and expression of SP-D.

Results: Surgical specimens from IBD patients showed a strong positive correlation between immunoscore for SP-D and inflammatory activity (R2 = 0.78, P < 0.0001). In mice, colonic epithelial SP-D expression was very low, and DSS-induced colitis was unaffected by SP-D deficiency, although DSS induced transcription of colonic SP-D to a mild degree.

Conclusions: A strong positive correlation between inflammatory activity and epithelial expression of SP-D was observed in surgical specimens from IBD patients supporting a role for SP-D in clinical disease. The in vivo study was inconclusive due to very low intestinal SP-D expression in the mouse. Further studies are warranted to support that increased SP-D expression in the human colonic epithelium is protective against intestinal inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInflammatory Bowel Diseases
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1349-1356
Publication statusPublished - 17. Jul 2019


  • colitis
  • inflammatory bowel diseases
  • surfactant protein D


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