The role of autoantibodies in inflammatory bowel disease

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

10 Citations (Scopus)


The search for the underlying trigger of an inappropriate inflammatory reaction characteristic of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) has led to the discovery of several antibodies. The panel of serologic markers for IBD is rapidly expanding. Serologic markers hold the promise of helping researchers and clinicians to better understand IBD heterogeneity and natural history. The real importance of the antibodies produced against various microbial and autoantigens is still uncertain. Whether these antibodies play a primary role in the pathogenesis of IBD, or their presence is only a consequence of the inflamed mucosa is a fundamental question that remains to be clarified. The impact of the routine evaluation of these serologic markers in the everyday clinical IBD diagnostic algorithm is questionable due to their limited sensitivity. Despite their great potential, the routine use of serologic markers for diagnosis and follow-up is currently not justified. However, their correlation with disease phenotype and behavior is more established. A combination of serum markers has been shown to be of more value compared to using single markers alone. The ongoing challenge is how to best utilize these serologic markers to provide clinically relevant information in a cost-effective manner. Further prospective clinical trials are needed to determine their exact role in pathogenesis and practical clinical importance. We review the current standpoint of the clinical impact of various established and newly suggested markers in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-207
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive Diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2012


  • Antiglycan antibodies
  • Diagnosis
  • Disease course
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Serologic markers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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