Age of diagnosis influences serologic responses in children with Crohn's disease: A possible clue to etiology?

James Markowirz, Subra Kugathasan, Marla Dubinsky, Ling Mei, Wallace Crandall, Neal LeLeiko, Maria Oliva-Hemker, Joel Rosh, Jonathan Evans, David Mack, Anthony Otley, Marian Pfefferkorn, Ron Bahar, Eric Vasiliauskas, Ghassan Wahbeh, Gary Silber, J. Antonio Quiros, Iwona Wrobel, Justin Nebel, Carol LandersYoanna Picornell, Stephan Targan, Trudy Lerer, Jeffrey Hyams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Background: Crohn's disease (CD) is often associated with antibodies to microbial antigens. Differences in immune response may offer clues to the pathogenesis of the disease. The aim was to examine the influence of age at diagnosis on the serologic response in children with CD. Methods: Data were drawn from 3 North American multicenter pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) research consortia. At or shortly after diagnosis, pANCA, ASCA IgA, ASCA IgG, anti-ompC, and anti-CBir1 were assayed. The results were compared as a function of age at CD diagnosis (0-7 years versus 8-15 years). Results: In all, 705 children (79 <8 years of age at diagnosis, 626 ≥8 years) were studied. Small bowel CD was less frequent in the younger group (48.7% versus 72.6%; P < 0.0001), while colonic involvement was comparable (91.0% versus 86.5%). ASCA IgA and IgG were seen in <20% of those 0-7 years old compared to nearly 40% of those 8-15 years old (P < 0.001), while anti-CBir1 was more frequent in the younger children (66% versus 54%, P < 0.05). Anti-CBir1 detected a significant number of children in both age groups who otherwise were serologically negative. Both age at diagnosis and site of CD involvement were independently associated with expression of ASCA and anti-CBir1. Conclusions: Compared to children 8-15 years of age at diagnosis, those 0-7 years are more likely to express anti-CBir1 but only half as likely to express ASCA. These age-associated differences in antimicrobial seropositivity suggest that there may be different, and as yet unrecognized, genetic, immunologic, and/or microbial factors leading to CD in the youngest children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)714-719
Number of pages6
JournalInflammatory bowel diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009


  • Children
  • Crohn's disease
  • Serologic responses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Gastroenterology


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