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Pattern recognition receptor and autophagy gene variants are associated with development of antimicrobial antibodies in Crohn's disease


  • Dr. Silverberg was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) Grant DK062423, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada, and the Gale and Graham Wright Research Chair in Digestive Diseases. Dr. Murdoch was supported by a Canadian Association for Gastroenterology Resident Research Award. Dr. Xu was supported by the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada. Work at Cedars-Sinai was supported by NIDDK Grant DK046763. Dr. Targan is supported in part by the Feintech Family Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Dr. Rotter by the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors' Chair in Medical Genetics.



We sought to investigate whether variants in genes involved in bacterial sensing and autophagy (NOD2, TLR5, IRGM, ATG16L1) and the interleukin-23 signaling pathway (IL12B, IL23R, STAT3) were associated with development of antimicrobial antibodies in patients with Crohn's disease (CD).


A cohort of 616 CD patients from a tertiary referral hospital (Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto) was evaluated. DNA was tested for three CD-associated NOD2 variants (3020insC, G908R, R702W), variants in IRGM, ATG16L1, IL12B, IL23R, STAT3, and a TLR5-stop mutation. Serum was analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae (ASCA) IgG and IgA, anti-outer membrane porin C (anti-ompC), anti-Cbir1 flagellin, and anti-Pseudomonas fluorescens (anti-I2).


NOD2 3020insC was associated with cumulative seroreactivity by quartile sum (P = 0.003) and number of positive antibodies (P = 0.02). NOD2 G908R was also associated with quartile sum (P = 0.05). Increased ASCA seropositivity was associated with NOD2 3020insC (odds ratio [OR] = 1.9, P = 0.02) and G908R (OR = 1.8, P = 0.05), and ATG16L1 T300A (OR = 1.4, P = 0.01) variants; ASCA-positive patients had an increased cumulative number of NOD2 3020insC and ATG16L1 T300A variants (P = 0.007). TLR5-stop mutation abrogated development of anti-flagellin in a dominant-negative fashion (OR = 0.5, P = 0.009). The IRGM CD risk variant was associated with increased anti-flagellin seropositivity (OR = 1.5, P = 0.03). IL12B, IL23R, and STAT3 variants did not contribute to development of antimicrobial antibodies.


Variants in innate immune genes involved in pattern recognition and autophagy but not the interleukin-23 signaling pathway influence antimicrobial seroreactivity in CD. In particular, the additive effect of NOD2 3020insC and ATG16L1 T300A suggests a role for autophagy in development of ASCA. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2012;)