Inflammatory bowel disease aggregation in Utah kindreds




The observed heritability of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is incompletely explained by known genetic risk factors. Kindred-specific genetic variants that cause IBD may be a source of “missing heritability.” Given that they have been previously difficult to identify, we sought to identify high-risk IBD kindreds.


We used a large population-based database—the Utah Population Database (UPDB)—which contains genealogical and healthcare data to characterize the risk of Crohn's disease (CD), ulcerative colitis (UC), and IBD in kindreds. We identified CD and UC cases using ICD-9 codes. We calculated the adjusted relative risk to relatives of affected individuals. We calculated the familial standardized incidence ratio (FSIR) to quantify the kindred-specific disease risk.


In all, 3601 CD cases and 3976 UC cases met inclusion criteria. A total of 655 CD kindreds and 615 UC kindreds had a statistical excess of disease. Risk of disease varied among kindreds, with some kindreds demonstrating ≈20-fold elevated risk. For CD, UC, and IBD, relative risks were significantly elevated for first- and second-degree relatives and first cousins. The adjusted population attributable risks for familial CD, UC, and IBD were 0.20 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.17–0.23); 0.17 (0.14–0.21); and 0.19 (0.17–0.22), respectively.


We identified multiple kindreds with a statistical excess of CD, UC, and IBD, and validated the UPDB as a resource for family studies in IBD. Given the need for novel genetic mapping strategies to explain the apparent missing heritability in IBD, further studies of these high-risk kindreds is justified. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2011)