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J Clin Microbiol. 1987 Jan;25(1):45-51.

Investigation of association of mycobacteria with inflammatory bowel disease by nucleic acid hybridization.


We used DNA-DNA hybridization to characterize a mycobacterial isolate, strain Linda, that was obtained from a patient with Crohn's disease and that has been reported to cause ileitis in experimental animals. We also investigated the association of this mycobacterium with Crohn's disease. Our results identified Mycobacterium strain Linda as a strain of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, the etiologic agent of Johne's disease, a disease of ruminants that has some superficial resemblance to Crohn's disease. Sequences that hybridized with strain Linda DNA probes were detected in DNA extracted from human intestinal tissues from patients with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and noninflammatory bowel disease. These hybridizing DNA sequences were more prevalent in the muscle layers than in the intestinal mucosa, making it unlikely that they represented DNA from bacterial contaminants in the intestinal lumen. Measurement of the melting temperatures of the DNA-DNA hybrids formed between strain Linda probes and tissue DNAs indicated that the related sequences detected were of mycobacterial origin but were not identical to each other or to strain Linda DNA. These results do not support the proposed specific relationship between Mycobacterium strain Linda and Crohn's disease. The possible etiologic role of mycobacteria in Crohn's disease is discussed.

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