FOCAL ENHANCED GASTRITIS AND MACROPHAGE MICROAGGREGATES IN THE GASTRIC MUCOSA: potential role in the differential diagnosis between Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

Gastrite focal e microagregados de macrófagos na mucosa gástrica: uso potencial no diagnóstico diferencial entre doença de Crohn e colite ulcerativa

Marcia Henriques de MAGALHÃES-COSTA Beatriz Ribeiro dos REIS Vera Lúcia Antunes CHAGAS Tiago NUNES Heitor Siffert Pereira de SOUZA Cyrla ZALTMAN About the authors

Context and Objectives

Focally enhanced gastritis and macrophage microaggregates are found in the upper gastrointestinal involvement of Crohn’s disease, and may reflect an underlying defective innate immunity. These features, however, are also described in patients with Helicobacter pylori infection. The role of these gastric abnormalities in the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease was assessed in a population with high prevalence of H. pylori infection.


Thirty-seven Crohn’s disease, 26 ulcerative colitis, and 30 control patients were included. The H. pylori status was evaluated by the rapid urease test and histology. The presence of focally enhanced gastritis and macrophage microaggregates was recorded.


Focally enhanced gastritis was present in 24% of Crohn’s disease patients, 4% of ulcerative colitis patients and 11.5% of controls, presenting an overall sensitivity and specificity for Crohn’s disease of 24% and 88%, respectively. Macrophage microaggregates were found in all groups, but were only detected in ulcerative colitis and controls in association with H. pylori infection, with an overall sensitivity and specificity for Crohn’s disease of 61% and 69%, respectively. In the absence of H. pylori infection, focally enhanced gastritis and macrophage microaggregates were significantly associated with Crohn’s disease (P<0.02 and P = 0.001 respectively).


Focally gastritis and macrophage microaggregates are suggestive of Crohn’s disease only in H. pylori-negative specimens. HEADINGS - Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis. Gastritis. Macrophages. Helicobacter pylori.

Crohn’s disease; Ulcerative colitis; Gastritis; Macrophages; Helicobacter pylori

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