Mycobacteria in the intestine of Japanese patients with inflammatory bowel disease

Am J Gastroenterol. 1995 Jan;90(1):76-80.


Objectives: It is still controversial whether or not a mycobacterial infection may be a cause of Crohn's disease. Mycobacterium paratuberculosis may be very difficult to detect using routine culture techniques. To clarify this, we detected mycobacterial DNA in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

Methods: IS900 sequences highly specific to M. paratuberculosis and the groEL gene encoding a conserved mycobacterial antigen were studied in colonic mucosa using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR products were analyzed by Southern blot hybridization.

Results: IS900 sequences were detected in all (100%) of 10 patients with Crohn's disease, in 11 (61.1%) of 18 patients with ulcerative colitis, and in 14 (87.5%) of 16 control patients with noninflammatory bowel disease. All IS900 positive samples had groEL PCR products.

Conclusions: Our results, on the basis of the prevalence, do not support the hypothesis that M. paratuberculosis is involved in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Crohn Disease / microbiology
  • DNA Probes
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / microbiology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology*
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis / isolation & purification*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • DNA Probes