Few data are available on measurements of serum concentrations of complement proteins in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Therefore we measured serum levels of C3, C4, and C1-esterase inhibitor (C1-INH) as well as C-reactive protein (CRP) in 167 patients with Crohn's disease (CD) and 111 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). Median serum concentrations of C3 and C1-INH were significantly higher in CD than in UC. According to multiple logistic regression analysis adjusted to age, sex, activity of disease, and presence of extraintestinal manifestations, IBD patients with high-normal (≥ 128%, ≥75th percentile) C1-INH concentrations had significantly (0.0275) higher odds ratio to have a diagnosis of CD than UC. Patients with high-normal C3 (≥ 1.40 g/liter) and high (≥20 mg/liter) CRP concentrations had an even higher odds ratio of a CD diagnosis (P = 0.0132). Our findings indicate that measurement of C3, C 1-INH, and CRP can be used as an additional marker to pANCA/ASCA for distinguishing patients with CD and UC.
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