Crohn's disease-associated genetic marker is seen in medically unresponsive ulcerative colitis patients and may be associated with pouch-specific complications

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Genetic markers have been used to define subgroups of patients within the broad categories of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis that may differ in clinical course and response to medical therapy. The tumor necrosis factor microsatellite haplotype a2b1c2d4e1 has been found previously to be present in 24 percent of patients with Crohn's disease and only 5 percent of patients with ulcerative colitis. This study examined associations between this microsatellite haplotype and the postoperative clinical course of patients with ulcerative colitis undergoing ileal pouch-anal anastomosis.


As part of a large, controlled, prospective study to correlate genetic markers with clinical phenotypes, tumor necrosis factor microsatellite alleles at five loci (a, b, c, d, and e) were determined from genomic DNA by polymerase chain reaction in 32 patients with a clinical and histopathologic diagnosis of ulcerative colitis who underwent ileal pouch-anal anastomosis for medically unresponsive disease. All patients with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis were also studied prospectively for pouch-specific complications.


The tumor necrosis factor haplotype a2b1c2d4e1 was present in 11 patients. Median follow-up was 19 months. Thirteen patients had a pouch-specific complication (12 pouchitis and 1 pouch-perineal fistula). Six of 11 patients (55 percent) with the haplotype had a pouch-specific complication compared with 7 of the 21 patients (33 percent) who did not possess this haplotype (P =0.22). Median time from surgery to pouch-specific complication was eight months. Patients with the haplotype had a median time to pouch-specific complication of three months, whereas patients without the haplotype had a median time of 11 months (P =0.04). In addition, 36 percent of patients with the haplotype had chronic pouch complications vs. only 10 percent of patients without the haplotype (P =0.05).


The Crohn's disease-associated tumor necrosis factor haplotype a2b1c2d4e1 may define a subgroup of medically unresponsive patients with ulcerative colitis who are predisposed to a higher incidence of pouch-specific complications after ileal pouch-anal anastomosis.

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