Inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis are characterised by chronic transmural, segmental and typically granulomatous inflammation of the gut. Each has a peak age of onset in the second to fourth decades of life and prevalence has been increasing significantly in both Western countries and Japan over the last decade, while their pathogenesis remains largely unknown. Recently, positive association of CD with the variants in interleukin 23 receptor (IL23R), autophagy-related 16-like 1 (ATG16L1) genes and chromosome 5p13.1 locus was reported through genome-wide association studies which are now recognised as a robust tool for the identification of susceptibility genes for complex diseases. To examine an association of reported susceptible variants in the three loci with Japanese CD patients, a total of 484 CD patients and 439 controls were genotyped. No evidence of positive association for any of these loci with CD was found in the Japanese population, even after clinically stratified subgroups of CD were used. Our result revealed a distinct ethnic difference of genetic background of CD that we reported previously in other genes between Japanese and Caucasian populations. Further genetic studies are required to confirm our findings with ethnically divergent populations.
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