Bergemalm D, Andersson E, Hultdin J, Eriksson C, Rush ST, Kalla R, Adams AT, Keita ÅV, D'Amato M, Gomollon F, Jahnsen J, IBD Character Consortium , Ricanek P, Satsangi J, Repsilber D, Karling P, Halfvarson J
Gastroenterology 161 (5) 1526-1539.e9 [2021-11-00; online 2021-07-21]
Preclinical ulcerative colitis is poorly defined. We aimed to characterize the preclinical systemic inflammation in ulcerative colitis, using a comprehensive set of proteins. We obtained plasma samples biobanked from individuals who developed ulcerative colitis later in life (n = 72) and matched healthy controls (n = 140) within a population-based screening cohort. We measured 92 proteins related to inflammation using a proximity extension assay. The biologic relevance of these findings was validated in an inception cohort of patients with ulcerative colitis (n = 101) and healthy controls (n = 50). To examine the influence of genetic and environmental factors on these markers, a cohort of healthy twin siblings of patients with ulcerative colitis (n = 41) and matched healthy controls (n = 37) were explored. Six proteins (MMP10, CXCL9, CCL11, SLAMF1, CXCL11 and MCP-1) were up-regulated (P < .05) in preclinical ulcerative colitis compared with controls based on both univariate and multivariable models. Ingenuity Pathway Analyses identified several potential key regulators, including interleukin-1β, tumor necrosis factor, interferon-gamma, oncostatin M, nuclear factor-κB, interleukin-6, and interleukin-4. For validation, we built a multivariable model to predict disease in the inception cohort. The model discriminated treatment-naïve patients with ulcerative colitis from controls with leave-one-out cross-validation (area under the curve = 0.92). Consistently, MMP10, CXCL9, CXCL11, and MCP-1, but not CCL11 and SLAMF1, were significantly up-regulated among the healthy twin siblings, even though their relative abundances seemed higher in incident ulcerative colitis. A set of inflammatory proteins are up-regulated several years before a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis. These proteins were highly predictive of an ulcerative colitis diagnosis, and some seemed to be up-regulated already at exposure to genetic and environmental risk factors.