Simkania negevensis in Crohn's Disease

Scaioli, E; Biondi, R; Liverani, E; Sartini, A; Troiano, A; Fuccio, L; Muratori, R; Lombardi, G; Onorini, D; Dal Monte, P; Donati, M; Belluzzi, A

Belluzzi, A (reprint author), Univ Bologna, Gastroenterol Unit, Dept Med & Surg Sci, St Orsola Malpighi Hosp, Via Massarenti 9, I-40138 Bologna, Italy.



Background Simkania negevensis is an obligate intracellular Gram-negative bacterium ( family Simkaniaceae, order Chlamydiales) that has been isolated from domestic and mains water supplies, is able to infect human macrophages, and can induce an inflammatory response in the host. Methods From June to December 2016, in a single-center observational study, colonic Crohn's disease patients and controls (subjects undergoing screening for colorectal cancer) underwent blood tests to identify serum-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin A (IgA) to S. negevensis and a colonoscopy with biopsies for detection of S. negevensis DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results Forty-three Crohn's disease patients and 18 controls were enrolled. Crohn's disease patients had higher prevalence of IgA antibodies to S. negevensis compared with controls (20.9% versus 0%, p = 0.04). Simkaniaceae negevensis DNA was detected in 34.9% and 5.6% of intestinal biopsies in Crohn's disease patients and controls, respectively (p = 0.02). All Crohn's disease patients with PCR-positive biopsies for S. negevensis were IgG seropositive, with specific IgA in 60% of them (p < 0.001). Immunosuppressive therapies, extraintestinal manifestations, or disease activity did not influence the presence of S. negevensis in the Crohn's disease population. Conclusions We identified S. negevensis in Crohn's disease patients by demonstrating the presence of S. negevensis mucosal DNA and seropositivity to the bacterium. These results could support the presence of an acute or persistent S. negevensis infection and suggest a possible role in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease.

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