Lymphogranuloma venereum proctitis masquerading as inflammatory bowel disease in 12 homosexual men

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Jul;32(1):59-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2010.04313.x. Epub 2010 Mar 25.


Background: Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a recognized cause of proctitis. Symptoms, endoscopy and histology findings are similar in IBD and LGV proctitis.

Aims: To characterize the clinical, endoscopic and histological features seen in men diagnosed initially with IBD and subsequently with LGV proctitis, and to attempt isolation of Chlamydia trachomatis DNA from the stored rectal biopsy specimens of these patients using real-time PCR.

Methods: Clinical data were collated from confirmed or suspected cases of LGV proctitis where endoscopy and biopsy had been performed as part of the investigation of clinical symptoms. LGV was confirmed by the detection of LGV-specific DNA from rectal swab specimens, with supportive evidence from Chlamydial serology. Stored histological specimens from rectal biopsies were analysed retrospectively for LGV-specific DNA with molecular techniques.

Results: Rectal biopsies had been obtained from twelve cases of LGV proctitis. Mucosal ulcers, cryptitis, crypt abscesses and granulomas were common histological findings. Extraction of LGV-specific DNA from rectal biopsy specimens enabled confirmation of three suspected cases.

Conclusions: During the recent LGV proctitis epidemic among UK men who have sex with men, it has become apparent that this infection may closely resemble IBD. Gastroenterologists should remain alert to LGV as a cause of proctitis in this group.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / isolation & purification*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Lymphogranuloma Venereum / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Proctitis / diagnosis*
  • United Kingdom