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High prevalence of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis IS900 DNA in gut tissues from individuals with Crohn’s disease
  1. F Autschbach1,*,
  2. S Eisold2,*,
  3. U Hinz3,
  4. S Zinser4,
  5. M Linnebacher5,
  6. T Giese6,
  7. T Löffler4,
  8. M W Büchler4,
  9. J Schmidt4
  1. 1Institute of Pathology, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  2. 2Department of General, Thoracic, and Vascular Surgery, University of Rostock, Germany
  3. 3Unit for Documentation and Statistics, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  4. 4Department of General Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  5. 5Molecular Pathology, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  6. 6Institute of Immunology, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr J Schmidt
    Department of Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 110, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany;


Background and aims: Conflicting results exist about the presence of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) specific IS900 DNA in Crohn’s disease (CD) tissues. Therefore, we examined IS900 in a large number of gut samples from patients with CD (n = 100) and ulcerative colitis (UC, n = 100), and in non-inflamed control tissues (nIBD, n = 100). We hypothesised that IS900 DNA detection might be associated with distinct clinical phenotypic characteristics in CD.

Methods: The prevalence of MAP DNA in surgically resected tissues was examined using a mechanical-enzymatic disruption technique and nested IS900 specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR). CD patients were stratified according to the criteria of the Vienna classification and other clinical characteristics.

Results: IS900 PCR detection rate was significantly higher in CD tissue samples (52%) than in UC (2%) or nIBD (5%) specimens (p<0.0001). In CD patients, IS900 DNA was detected in samples from both diseased small bowel (47%) as well as from the colon (61%). No firm association between MAP specific IS900 detection rates and clinical phenotypic characteristics in CD could be established. However, corticosteroid medication constituted a factor which tended to have a negative influence on IS900 DNA detection rates in CD (p<0.01).

Conclusions: The presence of MAP specific IS900 DNA is a predominant feature of CD. Therapeutic intervention against MAP might represent a potential target for disease mitigation in Crohn’s disease.

  • CD, Crohn’s disease
  • MAP, Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis
  • nIBD, non-inflammatory bowel disease
  • IBD, inflammatory bowel disease
  • IQR, interquartile range
  • PCR, polymerase chain reaction
  • RT, room temperature
  • UC, ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • bacterial control
  • ulcerative colitis

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  • * F Autschbach and S Eisold contributed equally to this paper.

  • Conflict of interest: None declared.

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