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Am J Gastroenterol. 1996 Aug;91(8):1512-5.

Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies in relatives of patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

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Department of Biochemistry, Hospital Universitari de Tarragona Joan XXIII, School of Medicine, Universitat Rovira i Virgili of Tarragona, Spain.



The occurrence of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) has been reported more frequently than expected in healthy first-degree relatives of patients with ulcerative colitis, suggesting that these antibodies may represent a subclinical marker of genetic disease susceptibility.


To determine the prevalence of ANCA in unaffected first-degree relatives of inflammatory bowel disease patients in a Spanish population.


Three hundred and seventy sera obtained from 80 patients with inflammatory bowel disease (55 ulcerative colitis, 25 Crohn's disease), 217 unaffected first-degree relatives (157 from ulcerative colitis and 60 from Crohn's disease patients), 62 healthy controls, and 11 celiac disease patients were tested using an indirect immunofluorescence assay.


Antibodies were detected in 64% of patients with ulcerative colitis but in only 12.5% of patients with Crohn's disease. ANCA were seldom present in their unaffected first-degree relatives (4.6%), control subjects (1.6%), and celiac disease patients (0%).


In the Spanish population studied, antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies occur more commonly in ulcerative colitis than in Crohn's disease, as reported in other Caucasian populations. Moreover, their presence is not increased in their first-degree relatives. These findings indicate that ANCA are not a subclinical marker of genetic susceptibility to inflammatory bowel disease in this population.

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