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Differential response to microbial antigens by age of diagnosis in patients with Crohn's disease

Authors Quezada S, Rustgi A, Jambaulikar G, Cross R

Received 24 June 2014

Accepted for publication 26 January 2015

Published 9 June 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 169—174


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Andreas M Kaiser

Sandra M Quezada, Ankur Rustgi, Guruprasad D Jambaulikar, Raymond K Cross

Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA

Purpose: Fifteen percent of incident Crohn's disease (CD) cases are diagnosed at older ages and demonstrate colonic location and inflammatory behavior. Serologic responses to gut microbial antigens are associated with specific phenotypes, and may differ by age at diagnosis. Our aim was to identify an association between age at diagnosis of CD and responses to gut microbial antigens.
Patients and methods: Levels of anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies (ASCA) immunoglobulins A and G (IgA and IgG), antibodies to Escherichia coli outer membrane porin-C (anti-Omp-C), antibodies to clostridial flagellin (anti-CBir-1), and perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (p-ANCA) were compared in patients by age in three diagnosis groups: patients diagnosed at ages of <40, ≥40–59, and ≥60 years. For each antigen, patients with antibody levels in the first, second, third, and fourth quartile were assigned a score of 1, 2, 3, or 4, respectively. Individual scores were added to create a quartile sum score representing cumulative quantitative immune response.
Results: Eighteen, 17, and 12 patients were diagnosed at ages <40, 40–59, and ≥60 years, respectively. The majority (71%) had ileocolonic disease in the youngest group, compared to 36% in the oldest group (P=0.001). Mean ASCA IgA and IgG titers were increased in the youngest age group compared to the older groups (P=0.19 and P=0.13, respectively). Mean quartile sum scores for antibody levels were 7.2±2.8 in those patients diagnosed at ages <40 years, 4.9±2.9 in the 40–59-year-old age group, and 5.6±2.6 in the ≥60-year-old age group (P=0.06).
Conclusion: A trend toward decreased cumulative immune responses to CD-associated gut antigens was observed in CD patients diagnosed at older ages compared to younger patients. Host responses to microbial antigens may be less important in older onset IBD and may contribute to the distinct phenotype in this group.

Keywords: serologic tests, Crohn's disease, aging, phenotype

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