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1.  CEACAM6 Gene Variants in Inflammatory Bowel Disease 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e19319.
Background
The carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 6 (CEACAM6) acts as a receptor for adherent-invasive E. coli (AIEC) and its ileal expression is increased in patients with Crohn's disease (CD). Given its contribution to the pathogenesis of CD, we aimed to investigate the role of genetic variants in the CEACAM6 region in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
Methodology
In this study, a total of 2,683 genomic DNA samples (including DNA from 858 CD patients, 475 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), and 1,350 healthy, unrelated controls) was analyzed for eight CEACAM6 SNPs (rs10415946, rs1805223 = p.Pro42Pro, rs4803507, rs4803508, rs11548735 = p.Gly239Val, rs7246116 = pHis260His, rs2701, rs10416839). In addition, a detailed haplotype analysis and genotype-phenotype analysis were performed. Overall, our genotype analysis did not reveal any significant association of the investigated CEACAM6 SNPs and haplotypes with CD or UC susceptibility, although certain CEACAM6 SNPs modulated CEACAM6 expression in intestinal epithelial cell lines. Despite its function as receptor of AIEC in ileal CD, we found no association of the CEACAM6 SNPs with ileal or ileocolonic CD. Moreover, there was no evidence of epistasis between the analyzed CEACAM6 variants and the main CD-associated NOD2, IL23R and ATG16L1 variants.
Conclusions
This study represents the first detailed analysis of CEACAM6 variants in IBD patients. Despite its important role in bacterial attachment in ileal CD, we could not demonstrate a role for CEACAM6 variants in IBD susceptibility or regarding an ileal CD phenotype. Further functional studies are required to analyze if these gene variants modulate ileal bacterial attachment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019319
PMCID: PMC3084820  PMID: 21559399
2.  The NOD2 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms rs2066843 and rs2076756 Are Novel and Common Crohn's Disease Susceptibility Gene Variants 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e14466.
Background
The aims were to analyze two novel NOD2 variants (rs2066843 and rs2076756) in a large cohort of patients with inflammatory bowel disease and to elucidate phenotypic consequences.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Genomic DNA from 2700 Caucasians including 812 patients with Crohn's disease (CD), 442 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), and 1446 healthy controls was analyzed for the NOD2 SNPs rs2066843 and rs2076756 and the three main CD-associated NOD2 variants p.Arg702Trp (rs2066844), p.Gly908Arg (rs2066847), and p.Leu1007fsX1008 (rs2066847). Haplotype and genotype-phenotype analyses were performed. The SNPs rs2066843 (p = 3.01×10−5, OR 1.48, [95% CI 1.23-1.78]) and rs2076756 (p = 4.01×10−6; OR 1.54, [95% CI 1.28-1.86]) were significantly associated with CD but not with UC susceptibility. Haplotype analysis revealed a number of significant associations with CD susceptibility with omnibus p values <10−10. The SNPs rs2066843 and rs2076756 were in linkage disequilibrium with each other and with the three main CD-associated NOD2 mutations (D'>0.9). However, in CD, SNPs rs2066843 and rs2076756 were more frequently observed than the other three common NOD2 mutations (minor allele frequencies for rs2066843 and rs2076756: 0.390 and 0.380, respectively). In CD patients homozygous for these novel NOD2 variants, genotype-phenotype analysis revealed higher rates of a penetrating phenotype (rs2076756: p = 0.015) and fistulas (rs2076756: p = 0.015) and significant associations with CD-related surgery (rs2076756: p = 0.003; rs2066843: p = 0.015). However, in multivariate analysis only disease localization (p<2×10−16) and behaviour (p = 0.02) were significantly associated with the need for surgery.
Conclusion/Significance
The NOD2 variants rs2066843 and rs2076756 are novel and common CD susceptibility gene variants.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014466
PMCID: PMC3012690  PMID: 21209938
3.  Evidence for STAT4 as a Common Autoimmune Gene: rs7574865 Is Associated with Colonic Crohn's Disease and Early Disease Onset 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(4):e10373.
Background
Recent studies demonstrated an association of STAT4 variants with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), indicating that multiple autoimmune diseases share common susceptibility genes. We therefore investigated the influence of STAT4 variants on the susceptibility and phenotype of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in a large patient and control cohort.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Genomic DNA from 2704 individuals of Caucasian origin including 857 patients with Crohn's disease (CD), 464 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), and 1383 healthy, unrelated controls was analyzed for seven SNPs in the STAT4 gene (rs11889341, rs7574865, rs7568275, rs8179673, rs10181656, rs7582694, rs10174238). In addition, a detailed genotype-phenotype analysis was performed. Our analysis revealed an association of the STAT4 SNP rs7574865 with overall decreased susceptibility to CD (p = 0.047, OR 0.86 [95% CI 0.74–0.99]). However, compared to CD patients carrying the wild type genotype, the STAT4 SNP rs7574865 was significantly associated with early CD onset (p = 0.021) and colonic CD (p = 0.008; OR = 4.60, 95% CI 1.63–12.96). For two other STAT4 variants, there was a trend towards protection against CD susceptibility (rs7568275, p = 0.058, OR 0.86 [95% CI 0.74–1.00]; rs10174238, p = 0.057, OR 0.86 [95% CI 0.75–1.00]). In contrast, we did not observe any association with UC susceptibility. Evidence for weak gene-gene interaction of STAT4 with the IL23R SNP rs11209026 was lost after Bonferroni correction.
Conclusions/Significance
Our results identified the STAT4 SNP rs7574865 as a disease-modifying gene variant in colonic CD. However, in contrast to SLE and RA, the effect of rs7574865 on CD susceptibility is only weak.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010373
PMCID: PMC2861592  PMID: 20454450

Results 1-3 (3)