Relevance of serologic studies in inflammatory bowel disease
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The serologic panel for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is rapidly expanding. Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA) and anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae mannan antibodies (ASCA) have remained the most widely studied markers, but immune reactivity against a new group of bacterial antigens such as I2, OmpC (outer membrane porin C), and flagellin, has been described in Crohn’s disease. Several clinical avenues have been explored, such as the usefulness of serologic markers as screening tools for IBD and in accelerating a diagnosis in patients with indeterminate colitis. Another area of interest is disease stratification. Emerging data suggest there is a diversity of qualitative and quantitative responses to environmental antigens that differs among groups of IBD patients and may be associated with different clinical behaviors. As a result, it may be possible to tailor therapy on the basis of serologic responses. Prospective studies are needed before translating this concept into clinical practice. Clustering of IBD patients into more homogeneous subgroups based on antibody responses may help to unravel the pathophysiology of subsets of IBD.
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