Association Between Plasma Level of Collagen Type III Alpha 1 Chain and Development of Strictures in Pediatric Patients With Crohn's Disease

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 Aug;17(9):1799-1806. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2018.09.008. Epub 2018 Sep 10.


Background & aims: There are few serum biomarkers to identify patients with Crohn's disease (CD) who are at risk for stricture development. The extracellular matrix components, collagen type III alpha 1 chain (COL3A1) and cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP), could contribute to intestinal fibrosis. We investigated whether children with inflammatory CD (B1) who later develop strictures (B2) have increased plasma levels of COL3A1 or COMP at diagnosis, compared with children who remain B1. We compared results with previously studied biomarkers, including autoantibodies against colony-stimulating factor 2 (CSF2).

Methods: We selected 161 subjects (mean age, 12.2 y; 62% male) from the Risk Stratification and Identification of Immunogenic and Microbial Markers of Rapid Disease Progression in Children with Crohn's cohort, completed at 28 sites in the United States and Canada from 2008 through 2012. The children underwent colonoscopy and upper endoscopy at diagnosis and were followed up every 6 months for 36 months; plasma samples were collected at baseline. Based on CD phenotype, children were separated to group 1 (B1 phenotype at diagnosis and follow-up evaluation), group 2 (B2 phenotype at diagnosis), or group 3 (B1 phenotype at diagnosis who developed strictures during follow-up evaluation). Plasma samples were collected from patients and 40 children without inflammatory bowel disease (controls) at baseline and analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to measure COL3A1 and COMP. These results were compared with those from a previous biomarker study. The Kruskal-Wallis test and the pairwise Dunn test with Bonferroni correction were used to compare differences among groups.

Results: The median baseline concentration of COL3A1 was significantly higher in plasma from group 3 vs group 1 (P < .01) and controls (P = .01). Median baseline plasma concentrations of COMP did not differ significantly among groups. A model comprising baseline concentrations of COL3A1 and anti-CSF2 identified patients with B2 vs B1 CD with an area under the curve of 0.80 (95% CI, 0.71-0.89); the combined concentration identified patients with strictures with a sensitivity value of 0.70 (95% CI, 0.55-0.83) and a specificity value of 0.83 (95% CI, 0.67-0.93).

Conclusions: We found median plasma concentrations of COL3A1, measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay at diagnosis, to be significantly higher in patients with CD who later developed strictures than in patients without strictures. The combination of concentrations of COL3A1 and anti-CSF2 might be used to identify pediatric patients at CD diagnosis who are at risk for future strictures.

Clinical trial registration: identifier: NCT00790543.

Keywords: Biomarker; Complication; Fibrosis; IBD; Procollagen III.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Antibodies, Fungal
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein / blood*
  • Child
  • Collagen Type III / blood*
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Crohn Disease / blood*
  • Crohn Disease / classification
  • Crohn Disease / pathology
  • Crohn Disease / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Flagellin
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor / immunology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Porins / immunology


  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Antibodies, Fungal
  • Autoantibodies
  • CBir1 flagellin
  • COL3A1 protein, human
  • COMP protein, human
  • CSF2 protein, human
  • Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein
  • Collagen Type III
  • OmpC protein
  • Porins
  • Flagellin
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor

Supplementary concepts

  • Pediatric Crohn's disease

Associated data