Immunohistochemical examination for mycobacteria in intestinal tissues from patients with Crohn's disease

Gastroenterology. 1989 Apr;96(4):1009-15. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(89)91617-x.


We conducted an immunohistochemical search for mycobacteria in the intestinal tissues of patients with Crohn's disease. Tissues obtained by biopsy or surgical resection and fixed by a variety of methods (formalin, periodate-lysine-paraformaldehyde, fresh-frozen) were reacted by an immunoperoxidase method with antibodies to (a) Mycobacterium paratuberculosis strain linda, (b) M. tuberculosis, and (c) the common mycobacterial antigen, lipoarabinomannan. Each of the antibody preparations was shown capable of detecting a variety of typical and atypical mycobacteria (M. tuberculosis, M. kansasii, M. fortuitum, M. chelonei, M. paratuberculosis, and cell wall-defective as well as cell wall-intact forms of M. avium intracellulare) under conditions identical to those used for staining the patients' tissues. We did not detect mycobacteria in any of the 67 specimens from 30 patients examined. These results, in conjunction with those of our previous serologic studies, do not support the hypothesis that infection with a Mycobacterium causes Crohn's disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Bacterial / analysis
  • Crohn Disease / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Mycobacterium / isolation & purification*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Bacterial