IgG and IgG4 Antibodies in Subjects With Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Case Control Study in the General Population

BMC Gastroenterol. 2012 Nov 21;12:166. doi: 10.1186/1471-230X-12-166.


Background: Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) often relate their symptoms to the intake of food and modify their diet. IgE-mediated food allergy is uncommon in IBS, but the role of IgG-mediated food hypersensitivity remains inconclusive. The primary aim of this study was to compare food- and yeast-specific IgG and IgG4 antibodies in subjects with and without IBS.

Methods: This was a case control study in the general population for which subjects completed questionnaires about abdominal complaints and their intake of common food items. Blood samples were collected, and food- and yeast-specific IgG and IgG4 antibodies were measured. Antibodies were measured in mg/L.

Results: We included 269 subjects with IBS and 277 control subjects. After correction for subject characteristics and diet, there were no significant differences with regard to food- and yeast-specific IgG and IgG4 antibodies between subjects with IBS and controls. Lower values of IgG antibodies against egg (OR 0.99 (0.98 to 1.00), p = 0.002) and beef (OR 0.75 (0.60 to 0.94), p = 0.012) and higher values of IgG antibodies against chicken (OR 1.14 (1.03 to 1.27), p = 0.009) were associated with more severe symptoms.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that IgG-and IgG4-mediated food and yeast hypersensitivity in IBS is unlikely. IgG antibodies against food and yeast may reflect the diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / blood
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / blood
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Yeasts / immunology


  • Immunoglobulin G