Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies in chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Prevalence and diagnostic role

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BACKGROUND: Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA), originally found to be associated with vasculitis, have been reported to be present in chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Most often the ANCA staining pattern is of the perinuclear type (p-ANCA), although nuclear and cytoplasmic stainings are seen. Single studies have shown some of the antibodies to react with lactoferrin or cathepsin G; however, most studies have not been able to determine a main antigenic specificity. We studied the prevalence of ANCA in sera from 155 patients with ulcerative colitis, 128 patients with Crohn's disease, and 51 patients with coeliac disease. The presence of ANCA was correlated to disease activity, extent, and age of onset of the diseases. Furthermore, we tried to characterize the antigen specificity by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), using elastase, lactoferrin, myeloperoxidase, proteinase 3, and cathepsin G as antigens. METHODS: The sera were screened for ANCA by indirect immunofluorescence. Anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA) were analysed on HEp2 cells, and ELISA for specific ANCA was performed using the antigens mentioned. RESULTS: Most of the sera with positive immunofluorescence had the p-ANCA type of pattern. Seventy-eight of 155 (50.3%) of the patients with ulcerative colitis were ANCA-positive, compared with 31 of 128 (24.2%) of patients with Crohn's disease (p < 0.001). However, in the subgroup with Crohn's colitis, 16 of 44 (36.4%) were ANCA-positive. Only 4 of 51 patients (7.7%) with coeliac disease showed positive immunofluorescence (p < 0.001 compared with ulcerative colitis). Less than 10% of the samples were positive in the specific ELISA assays; thus other than the most well known granule proteins can be the target for ANCA in ulcerative colitis. CONCLUSION: ANCA occur significantly more often in ulcerative colitis than in Crohn's disease. However, the prevalence of ANCA is rather high in Crohn's colitis. ANCA are thus of limited value in differentiating Crohn's colitis from ulcerative colitis. ANCA found in inflammatory bowel disease are different from those associated with vasculitis. The antigen(s) responsible remain to be determined.


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Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Gastroenterologi


Sidor (från-till)693-698
TidskriftScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
StatusPublished - 1995
Peer review utfördJa