Genetic and environmental factors significant for the presentation and development of inflammatory bowel disease

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Aug;29(8):909-915. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000000877.


Objectives: The aim of the study was to evaluate associations between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) presentation and variants in NOD2, TLR4, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1β, and IL-RN genes in order to identify possible environmental factors that may affect IBD occurrence, investigate potential predictors for surgical treatment of IBD, and correlate the presence of granulomas in biopsy specimens with clinical characteristics of Crohn's disease (CD) patients.

Patients and methods: We genotyped 167 IBD patients using PCR-based methodology and tested for disease genotype-phenotype associations.

Results: In CD patients ileal localization of disease was more frequent in NOD2 variant carriers. Ileal CD was associated with IL-6 GC+CC genotypes, identifying C allele as a possible marker of increased risk for ileal CD. In CD patients a positive family history for IBD was related to earlier onset of disease, higher risk for CD-related surgery, and appendectomy. CD patients who are TLR4 299Gly carriers are at higher risk for surgery at onset of the disease compared with TLR4 299Asp variant carriers. The presence of granuloma in biopsy specimens was more frequent in patients in whom a diagnosis of CD was made during emergency surgery. Multivariate analysis showed that CD carriers of the 299Gly allele had a 4.6-fold higher risk for emergency surgery before CD diagnosis is established compared with noncarriers, suggesting an aggressive disease course. Granuloma in endoscopic biopsies is detected 5.4-fold more frequently in patients treated surgically at the time of diagnosis.

Conclusion: Genetic variants together with epidemiological and clinical data of IBD patients could potentially be used as predictors of the disease course.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis
  • Crohn Disease / epidemiology*
  • Crohn Disease / genetics*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Granuloma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Ileum / pathology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Phenotype
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors


  • Genetic Markers