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Familial expression of anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae mannan antibodies in affected and unaffected relatives of patients with Crohn's disease


BACKGROUND Crohn's disease is a familial disorder, and antiglycan antibodies to the cell wall mannan ofSaccharomyces cerevisiae (ASCA) are highly correlated with Crohn's disease.

AIMS To determine whether there is a familial pattern for expression of serum levels of anti-mannan Ig, and whether this trait is expressed in clinically unaffected Crohn's disease family members.

METHODS 349 patients with Crohn's disease, 87 Crohn's disease affected relatives, 333 inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) free relatives, 58 spouses, and 190 healthy control patients were studied. Serum IgG and IgA binding activity toS cerevisiae cell wall mannan was quantitated by ELISA.

RESULTS A high percentage of patients with Crohn's disease (51.9%) and affected family members (56.3%) were seropositive for anti-mannan Ig, compared with the normal control population (3.7%). Seropositive and seronegative phenotypes of Crohn's disease probands were correlated among all affected relatives, and this association was stronger in affected first degree relatives. Statistical intraclass correlations of quantitative anti-mannan Ig levels revealed significantly less variation within, rather than between families. A significant familial aggregation was observed for affected relatives; this was even stronger for unaffected relatives. While a significant familial aggregation was observed among unaffected siblings pairs, there was no significant correlation among marital pairs.

CONCLUSION Results show that anti-mannan Ig in family members affected and unaffected with Crohn's disease is a familial trait for both affected and unaffected relatives. The lack of concordance in marital pairs indicates that familiality is due in part to a genetic factor or childhood environmental exposure.

  • Crohn's disease
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • ulcerative colitis
  • anti-mannan antibodies
  • intraclass correlation
  • statistical genetics

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  • Abbreviations used in this paper:
    anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae mannan antibodies
    inflammatory bowel disease
    perinuclear antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies

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