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Autoimmunity. 2013 Sep;46(6):388-94. doi: 10.3109/08916934.2013.786047. Epub 2013 May 2.

Crohn's disease-specific pancreatic autoantibodies are specifically present in ruminants with paratuberculosis: implications for the pathogenesis of the human disease.

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  • 1Cellular Immunotherapy and Molecular Immunodiagnostics, Institute of Research and Technology Thessaly, Larissa, Greece.


Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) induces paratuberculosis (ptb) in ruminants and has clinical and histological features resebling Crohn's disease (CD). Pancreatic autoantibodies (PAB) targeting glycoprotein 2 (GP2) are specifically found in CD, but it is currently unknown whether these autoantibodies can be found in ruminants with ptb. IgG anti-MAP and anti-GP2 antibodies were tested by ELISA in 286 ruminants (212 sheep and 74 cattle). PAB testing was performed by indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) using anti-sheep or anti-cattle specific antisera. PCR analysis confirmed the presence of MAP in anti-MAP positive samples. Anti-GP2 antibodies were more prevalent in anti-MAP antibody positive (26.9%) than in anti-MAP negative ruminants (8.7%, p < 0.001). Anti-GP2 antibodies were found in 16/70 (22.9%) anti-MAP positive sheep compared to 10/142 (7%, p = 0.001) anti-MAP antibody negative and in anti-MAP positive cattle than in negative counterparts (5/8 versus 8/66, p = 0.003). Absorbance values for anti-GP2 antibodies were higher in cattle than in sheep (mean 21 AU/mL ± 25.4SD versus 12.2 AU/mL ± 23 SD, p < 0.001). There was no correlation between anti-GP2 and anti-MAP antibody concentrations. Anti-GP2 antibodies persisted up to 1/1000 and showed the characteristic IIF pancreatic pattern seen by anti-GP2 antibody positive CD samples. This is the first study to demonstrate the presence of CD-specific GP2-reactive pancreatic autoantibodies in MAP-infected ruminants. Our data suggest that CD and ptb are characterised by an antigen-driven loss of immunological tolerance to GP2, implying commonalities in the immunopathogenesis of the human and ruminant inflammatory bowel disorder.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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