Patients with idiopathic ulcerative colitis (UC) have a colonbound antibody (CCA-IgG) that reacts with colon tissue extracts. We have partially characterized a colonic protein that is specifically recognized by CCA-IgG. CCA-IgG was eluted from operative colon specimens from 10 patients with UC. A colon tissue-bound IgG was similarly eluted from six patients with Crohn's colitis, two with ischemic colitis, and one with diverticulitis. Purified serum IgG from patients with Crohn's disease, from normal subjects and a patient with myeloma were also used as additional controls. For detection of antigen(s), tissue extracts were prepared from 26 specimens of colon (UC, 12; Crohn's disease, 6; normal, 4; other controls, 4), 8 specimens of human normal stomach, duodenum, ileum, and liver (2 each). Tissue extracts were also prepared from rats and mice, including germ-free rat colons and rat's fetal colons. Immunorecognition of CCA-IgG to the tissue extracts was examined by affinity-column chromatography and by transblot analysis. Tissue-extracted proteins were electrophoresed in SDS-polyacrylamide gel, transferred to nitrocellulose sheet, and probed with iodinated CCA-IgG, colonic IgG from other inflammatory bowel disease patients, UC serum IgG, and control serum IgG. Although many proteins were present in colon tissue extracts, 9 of 10 CCA-IgG consistently recognized a protein of 40 kD. None of the nine IgG preparations from colon specimens of patients with Crohn's colitis and other colonic inflammatory diseases reacted with the 40-kD protein. Five of six symptomatic UC serum IgG and none of eight control serum IgG reacted with the 40-kD protein. The 40-kD protein was present in all colon specimens and it appeared to be organ specific. It was absent in mouse and rat tissues, including colon. The 40-kD protein is not actin and nor a part of the Ig molecule. These results suggest that the 40-kD protein is a colonic "autoantigen" that may initiate a specific IgG antibody response in UC.
F Takahashi, K M Das