Anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiaemannan antibodies (ASCA) are associated with Crohn's disease. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of ASCA in families in which at least two members were affected with Crohn's disease.
A total of 20 families including two (n = 15) or more (n = 5) patients with Crohn's disease were tested for ASCA with use of an ELISA method. Overall, 51 affected members, 66 healthy first degree relatives, and 163 healthy control subjects were studied.
ASCA were detected in 35 of 51 (69%) patients with Crohn's disease and in 13 of 66 (20%) healthy relativesversusone of 163 healthy control subjects (p< 0.0001 andp< 0.001). ASCA-positive relatives were distributed in 12 of 20 families. ASCA were present in eight healthy parents and four healthy siblings. The prevalence of ASCA in relatives did not depend on the ASCA status of affected members.
ASCA in 20% of healthy first degree relatives of patients with Crohn's disease suggest that these antibodies might be a subclinical marker for Crohn's disease in families. Whether ASCA reflect environmental or genetic factors or a combination of both is unknown.
1 Service d'Hépato-Gastroentérologie et Registre des Maladies Inflammatoires du Tube Digestif du Nord-Ouest de la France (EPIMAD)
2 Laboratoire de Parasitologie-Mycologie, CHRU Lille, France
3 INSERM U 42, Lille, France
4 Service de Gastroentérologie et Nutrition, Département de Pédiatrie, Hopital Necker, Paris, France
* Clinique des maladies de l'appareil digestif, CHRU de Lille, Hopital Claude Huriez, 59037 Lille Cedex, France
Received September 17, 1997; accepted April 10, 1998.