Human inflammatory bowel disease does not associate with Lawsonia intracellularis infection

Christoph W. Michalski, Fabio Francesco Di Mola, Klaus Kümmel, Michael Wendt, Jörg S. Köninger, Thomas Giese, Nathalia A. Giese, Helmut Friess

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13 Scopus citations


Background: There is increasing evidence that bacterial infection of the intestinal mucosa may contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). In pigs, an obligate intracellular bacterium, Lawsonia intracellularis (LI), was shown to cause proliferative enteropathy (PE) of which some forms display histological and clinical similarities to human IBD. Since LI-similar Desulfovibrio spp. may infect human cells, we hypothesized that LI might be associated with the development of human IBD. Results: In human intestinal tissue samples, PCR using LLG, 50SL27, LSA and strictly LI-specific 16SII primers, yielded either no amplicons or products with weak homology to human genomic sequences. Sequencing of these amplicons revealed no specificity for LI. However, amplification of DNA with less specific 16SI primers resulted in products bearing homology to certain Streptococcus species. These 16SI-amplified products were present in healthy and diseased specimens, without obvious prevalence. Conclusion: LI is not associated with the pathogenesis of UC or CD. Whether an immunologic response to commensal bacteria such as streptococci may contribute to the chronic inflammatory condition in IBD, remained to be determined.

Original languageEnglish
Article number81
JournalBMC Microbiology
StatePublished - 18 Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


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