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Dis Colon Rectum. 1998 Feb;41(2):195-9.

Role of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis in Crohn's disease: a prospective, controlled study using polymerase chain reaction.

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University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, 64108, USA.



Mycobacterium paratuberculosis has been proposed as a causative agent in patients with Crohn's disease. The purpose of this study was to determine whether M. paratuberculosis was present in tissue from patients with Crohn's disease in a defined geographic area.


We prospectively evaluated, using polymerase chain reaction and culture, whether M. paratuberculosis was present in 44 specimens (37 from intestinal mucosal biopsies and 7 from surgical resections) from patients with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or normal colonic mucosa.


Of the 25 specimens tested from the 21 Crohn's patients, only 1 positive specimen was noted, whereas the 8 specimens from the 5 ulcerative colitis patients and the 11 specimens from the 11 control patients failed to demonstrate a positive result with polymerase chain reaction. Cultures of all specimens revealed no growth of M. paratuberculosis.


M. paratuberculosis was only rarely detected in biopsy or surgical specimens from patients with Crohn's disease. These results do not support a common causative role of M. paratuberculosis in Crohn's disease.

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