Background The development of a supportive diagnostic method has long been required to differentially diagnose ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD). Several antibodies circulate in the sera of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. We previously identified the high mobility group box 1 and box 2 non-histone chromosomal proteins (HMGB1 and HMGB2) as novel antigens of perinuclear type anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (pANCA) and discovered anti-HMGB1/HMGB2 antibodies in sera from patients with UC. Here, we evaluated the ability of anti-HMGB1/HMGB2 antibodies combined with anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies (ASCA) to differentially diagnose UC and CD. Methods We measured titers of anti-HMGB1/HMGB2 antibodies and ASCA in the sera of 213 patients with UC and 93 with CD, using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Results Among the patients with UC, 26.8% were positive for anti-HMGB1/HMGB2 antibodies, with 85.0% specificity towards CD and a positive predictive value of 80.3%. Corticosteroids significantly suppressed the titer of anti- HMGB1/HMGB2 antibodies. Among the patients with CD, 24.7% were positive for ASCA, with 96.2% specificity towards UC and a positive predictive value of 74.2%. Interestingly, the positivity rate of anti-HMGB/HMGB2 antibodies was higher (35.7%) in patients with the ileitis type ofCDthan in patients withCDin the colon (6.2%; significant difference, P\0.01). The specificity of anti-HMGB1/ HMGB2 antibodies in UC for CD in the colon was 93.8%. Conclusions CD in the colon and UC can be differentially diagnosed using anti-HMGB/HMGB2 antibodies combined with ASCA.
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