Enteropathic spondyloarthropathy: a common genetic background with inflammatory bowel disease?

World J Gastroenterol. 2009 May 28;15(20):2456-62. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.2456.


The association between spondyloarthropathy and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is largely established, although prevalence is variable because of different population selection and diagnostic methodologies. Most studies indicate that as many as 10%-15% of cases of IBD are complicated by ankylosing spondylitis (AS) or other forms of spondylarthritis (SpA). Of note, ileal inflammation resembling IBD has been reported in up to two thirds of cases of SpA, and it has been suggested that the presence of ileitis is associated with the chronicity of articular complications. Although this observation is of interest to unravel the pathophysiology of the disease, systematic screening of patients with SpA by ileocolonoscopy is not indicated in the absence of gut symptoms, as only a small proportion of patients with subclinical gut inflammation will develop overt IBD over time. The existence of familial clustering of both IBD and AS, the coexistence of both conditions in a patient, the evidence of an increased risk ratio among first- and second-degree relatives of affected AS or IBD patients and finally, the increased cross-risk ratios between AS and IBD, strongly suggest a shared genetic background. So far, however, IL23R is the only identified susceptibility gene shared by both IBD and AS. Although functional studies are still needed to better understand its pathogenic role, great effort is being spent therapeutically targeting this pathway that may prove effective for both disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • HLA Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / genetics*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / physiopathology
  • Spondylarthropathies / genetics*
  • Spondylarthropathies / immunology
  • Spondylarthropathies / physiopathology


  • HLA Antigens