Serological investigation of food specific immunoglobulin G antibodies in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases

PLoS One. 2014 Nov 13;9(11):e112154. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112154. eCollection 2014.


Objective: Dietary factors have been indicated to influence the pathogenesis and nature course of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) with their wide variances. The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence and clinical significance of 14 serum food specific immunoglobulin G (sIgG) antibodies in patients with IBD.

Methods: This retrospective study comprised a total of 112 patients with IBD, including 79 with Crohn's disease (CD) and 33 with ulcerative colitis (UC). Medical records, clinical data and laboratory results were collected for analysis. Serum IgG antibodies against 14 unique food allergens were detected by semi-quantitative enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

Results: Food sIgG antibodies were detected in 75.9% (60/79) of CD patients, 63.6% (21/33) of UC patients and 33.1% (88/266) of healthy controls (HC). IBD patients showed the significantly higher antibodies prevalence than healthy controls (CD vs. HC, P = 0.000; UC vs. HC, P = 0.001). However no marked difference was observed between CD and UC groups (P = 0.184). More subjects were found with sensitivity to multiple antigens (≥ 3) in IBD than in HC group (33.9% vs.0.8%, P = 0.000). Egg was the most prevalent food allergen. There was a remarkable difference in the levels of general serum IgM (P = 0.045) and IgG (P = 0.041) between patients with positive and negative sIgG antibodies. Patients with multiple positive allergens (≥ 3) were especially found with significant higher total IgG levels compared with sIgG-negative patients (P = 0.003). Age was suggested as a protective factor against the occurrence of sIgG antibodies (P = 0.002).

Conclusions: The study demonstrates a high prevalence of serum IgG antibodies to specific food allergens in patients with IBD. sIgG antibodies may potentially indicate disease status in clinical and be utilized to guide diets for patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Immunoglobulin G

Grants and funding

The work was supported by grants from the National Key Technology R&D Program of China (No. 2012BAI06B03), National Natural Science Foundations of China (No. 81170362, 81200280 and 81370508), The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.