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Dig Dis Sci. 1991 Dec;36(12):1741-5.

Antibodies to Mycobacterium paratuberculosis in patients with Crohn's disease.

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Dipartimento di Fisiopatologia Clinica, Universit√° degli Studi, Torino, Italy.


IgG antibodies against Mycobacterium paratuberculosis protoplasmic antigen were looked for by an enzyme immunosorbent assay in patients with Crohn's disease, Ulcerative colitis, active pulmonary tuberculosis, past pulmonary tuberculosis, and in healthy controls. Serum reactivity for these antibodies was not correlated to PPD skin test positivity without history of mycobacterial disease. A cutoff based on the mean absorbance value of a pool of healthy blood donors was chosen. Positive values were found in 12/24 (50%) patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis and 2/10 (20%) skin-test-positive subjects with past pulmonary tuberculosis as expected, because antigenic sharing is common among different mycobacteria. The control group of blood donors showed borderline positivities in 3/149 cases (2.01%). Positive values were found in 4/108 (3.70%) patients with Crohn's disease and 2/40 (5%) with ulcerative colitis. We conclude that our data do not support a causal relationship between the M. paratuberculosis and Crohn's disease, but occasional patients with inflammatory bowel diseases show unexpected positivities for these mycobacterial antibodies.

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