Dominant-negative TLR5 polymorphism reduces adaptive immune response to flagellin and negatively associates with Crohn's disease

Andrew T. Gewirtz, Matam Vijay-Kumar, Steven R. Brant, Richard H. Duerr, Dan L. Nicolae, Judy H. Cho

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167 Scopus citations


Crohn's disease (CD) is associated with elevated adaptive immunity to commensal microbes, with flagellin being a dominant antigen. In light of heightened awareness of the importance of innate immunity in regulating adaptive immunity and ambiguity as to the role of CD-associated immune responses in CD pathophysiology, we sought to determine whether natural acquisition of immune responses to flagellin were regulated by the innate immune flagellin receptor toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5) and determine whether persons carrying a recently defined common dominant-negative TLR5 polymorphism (TLR5-stop) might be protected from developing CD. Carriage rates of a recently defined dominant-negative TLR5 polymorphism (TLR5-stop) and levels of serum immunoreactivity to bacterial products were measured in inflammatory bowel disease patients, first-degree relatives, and unrelated controls. We observed that, in healthy subjects, persons carrying TLR5-stop had significantly lower levels of flagellin-specific IgG and IgA but had similar levels of total and LPS-specific Ig. Moreover, we observed that, among Jewish subjects, the carriage rate of TLR5-stop (in heterozygous state) was significantly less in CD patients, but not ulcerative colitis (UC) patients, compared with unaffected relatives and unrelated controls (5.4, 0.9, 6.0, and 6.5% for unaffected relatives, CD, UC, and unrelated Jewish controls, respectively, n = 296, 215, 185, and 416, respectively; P = 0.037 by likelihood calculation for CD vs. controls), indicating that TLR5-stop can protect persons of Jewish ethnicity against CD. We did not observe a significant association of TLR5-stop with CD in a non-Jewish cohort (11.1, 10.4, and 11.7% for unaffected relatives, CD, and UC, respectively; n = 841, 543, and 300 for unaffected relatives, respectively). These results demonstrate that natural acquisition of immune responses to flagellin are regulated by TLR5 and suggest that immune responses to flagellin are not merely associated with CD but rather promote the pathogenic response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G1157-G1163
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Lipopolysacharride
  • Serum immunoglobulins


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