Age-of-diagnosis associated variation in disease location and antimicrobial sero-reactivity has suggested fundamental differences in pediatric Crohn Disease (CD) pathogenesis. This variation may be related to pubertal peak incidence of ileal involvement and Peyer’s patches maturation, represented by IFNγ-expressing Th1 cells. However, direct mucosal evidence is lacking. We characterize the global pattern of ileal gene expression and microbial communities in 525 treatment-naive pediatric CD patients and controls (Ctl), stratifying samples by their age-of-diagnosis. We show a robust ileal gene signature notable for higher expression of specific immune genes including GM-CSF and INFγ, and reduced expression of antimicrobial Paneth cell α-defensins, in older compared to younger patients. Reduced α-defensin expression in older patients was associated with higher IFNγ expression. By comparison, the CD-associated ileal dysbiosis, characterized by expansion of Enterobacteriaceae and contraction of Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae, was already established within the younger group and did not vary systematically with increasing age-of-diagnosis. Multivariate analysis considering individual taxa, however did demonstrate negative associations between Lachnospiraceae and IFNγ, and positive associations between Bacteroides and α-defensin expression. These data provide evidence for maturation of mucosal Th1 immune responses and loss of epithelial antimicrobial α-defensins which are associated with specific taxa with increasing age-of-diagnosis in pediatric CD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy