Preclinical Serological Signatures are Associated With Complicated Crohn's Disease Phenotype at Diagnosis

Rok Seon Choung, Francesca Petralia, Joana Torres, Ryan C. Ungaro, Chad Porter, Takahiro Sato, Shannon Telesco, Richard S. Strauss, Scott Plevy, Fred Princen, Mark S. Riddle, Joseph A. Murray*, Jean Frederic Colombel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: At diagnosis, up to one-third of patients with Crohn's disease (CD) have a complicated phenotype with stricturing (B2) or penetrating (B3) behavior or require early surgery. We evaluated protein biomarkers and antimicrobial antibodies in serum archived years before CD diagnosis to assess whether complicated diagnoses were associated with a specific serological signature. Methods: Prediagnosis serum was obtained from 201 patients with CD and 201 healthy controls. Samples were evaluated with a comprehensive panel of 1129 proteomic markers (SomaLogic) and antimicrobial antibodies. CD diagnosis and complications were defined by the International Classification of Diseases–Ninth Revision and Current Procedural Terminology codes. Cox regression models were utilized to assess the association between markers and the subsequent risk of being diagnosed with complicated CD. In addition, biological pathway and network analyses were performed. Results: Forty-seven CD subjects (24%) had a B2 (n = 36) or B3 (n = 9) phenotype or CD-related surgery (n = 2) at diagnosis. Subjects presenting with complicated CD at diagnosis had higher levels of antimicrobial antibodies six years before diagnosis as compared with those diagnosed with noncomplicated CD. Twenty-two protein biomarkers (reflecting inflammatory, fibrosis, and tissue protection markers) were found to be associated with complicated CD. Pathway analysis of the altered protein biomarkers identified higher activation of the innate immune system and complement or coagulation cascades up to six years before diagnosis in complicated CD. Conclusions: Proteins and antimicrobial antibodies associated with dysregulated innate immunity, excessive adaptive response to microbial antigens, and fibrosis precede and predict a complicated phenotype at the time of diagnosis in CD patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2928-2937.e12
JournalClinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Complications
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Preclinical Period
  • Serologic Biomarkers


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