Glycoprotein 2 antibodies in Crohn's disease

Dirk Roggenbuck, Dirk Reinhold, Lael Werner, Peter Schierack, Dimitrios P Bogdanos, Karsten Conrad
Advances in Clinical Chemistry 2013, 60: 187-208
The pathogenesis of Crohn's disease (CrD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), the two major inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), remains poorly understood. Autoimmunity is considered to be involved in the triggering and perpetuation of inflammatory processes leading to overt disease. Approximately 30% of CrD patients and less than 8% of UC patients show evidence of humoral autoimmunity to exocrine pancreas, detected by indirect immunofluorescence. Pancreatic autoantibodies (PAB) were described for the first time in 1984, but the autoantigenic target(s) of PABs were identified only in 2009. Utilizing immunoblotting and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, the major zymogen granule membrane glycoprotein 2 (GP2) has been discovered as the main PAB autoantigen. The expression of GP2 has been demonstrated at the site of intestinal inflammation, explaining the previously unaddressed contradiction of pancreatic autoimmunity and intestinal inflammation. Recent data demonstrate GP2 to be a specific receptor on microfold (M) cells of intestinal Peyer's patches, which are considered to be the original site of inflammation in CrD. Novel ELISAs, employing recombinant GP2 as the solid phase antigen, have confirmed the presence of IgA and IgG anti-GP2 PABs in CrD patients and revealed an association of anti-GP2 IgA as well as IgG levels with a specific clinical phenotype in CrD. Also, GP2 plays an important role in modulating innate and acquired intestinal immunity. Its urinary homologue, Tamm-Horsfall protein or uromodulin, has a similar effect in the urinary tract, further indicating that GP2 is not just an epiphenomenon of intestinal destruction. This review discusses the role of anti-GP2 autoantibodies as novel CrD-specific markers, the quantification of which provides the basis for further stratification of IBD patients. Given the association with a disease phenotype and the immunomodulating properties of GP2 itself, an important role for GP2 in the immunopathogenesis of IBD cannot be excluded.

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