Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 738–745 | Cite as

Loss of Response to Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha Therapy in Crohn’s Disease Is Not Associated with Emergence of Novel Inflammatory Pathways

  • Jay Luther
  • Manish Gala
  • Suraj J. Patel
  • Maneesh Dave
  • Nynke Borren
  • Ramnik J. Xavier
  • Ashwin N. AnanthakrishnanEmail author
Original Article



While monoclonal antibodies against tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) are effective in treating Crohn’s disease (CD), approximately one-third of patients lose response. The mechanisms underlying this loss of response remain elusive.


We sought to determine if novel biological pathways, including TNFα-independent inflammatory pathways, emerge in those with loss of response to anti-TNFα.


Using RNA microarray technology in 28 patients with CD, we examined the colonic gene expression differences between those with active inflammation in the setting of loss of response to TNFα-antagonist therapy (“loss of responders”) compared to anti-TNFα naïve patients with active inflammation and those on anti-TNF therapy in disease remission. Pathway enrichment analyses were performed.


We found that colonic expression of chemokines known to drive inflammation (CXCL20, CXCL9, and CXCL10) was elevated in those with loss of response compared to those in remission. Expression of genes critical to modulating oxidative stress burden (DUOX2, DUOXA2, and NOS2) was also elevated. Additionally, MMP3, MMP1, and MMP12 were elevated in those with continued inflammation. Gene enrichment analysis revealed that loss of responders exhibited dysregulation in the cysteine and methionine metabolism pathway, suggesting alteration in oxidative stress burden. There were no differences in genes or pathways between loss of responders and those who were TNFα-naïve. However, loss of response occurred despite the ability of anti-TNFα therapy to normalize APO gene expression.


Our analyses suggest that loss of response to anti-TNFα is not driven by the emergence of pathways that bypass the action or induce resistance to anti-TNFα therapy.


Crohn’s disease Anti-TNF Loss of response Microarray 



5K23DK103119 to MG, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation senior research award and AGA Elsevier pilot award to ANA, P30 DK043351 to RJX.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

SJP have equity interest in Heprotech Inc. MG has equity interest in New Amsterdam Genomics. Ananthakrishnan has served on the scientific advisory boards for Gilead, Takeda, and Abbvie. All other authors have no conflicts to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Gastrointestinal Unit, Massachusetts General HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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