Open Access Research article

IgG and IgG4 antibodies in subjects with irritable bowel syndrome: a case control study in the general population

Solveig C Ligaarden12*, Stian Lydersen3 and Per G Farup24

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Kyrre Grepps gt 19, 2819, Gjøvik, Norway

2 Unit for Applied Clinical Research, Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

3 Regional Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (RBUP), Department of Neuroscience, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

4 Department of Research, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Gjøvik, Norway

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BMC Gastroenterology 2012, 12:166  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-12-166

Published: 21 November 2012

Abstract

Background

Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) often relate their symptoms to the intake of food and modify their diet. IgE-mediated food allergy is uncommon in IBS, but the role of IgG-mediated food hypersensitivity remains inconclusive. The primary aim of this study was to compare food- and yeast-specific IgG and IgG4 antibodies in subjects with and without IBS.

Methods

This was a case control study in the general population for which subjects completed questionnaires about abdominal complaints and their intake of common food items. Blood samples were collected, and food- and yeast-specific IgG and IgG4 antibodies were measured. Antibodies were measured in mg/L.

Results

We included 269 subjects with IBS and 277 control subjects. After correction for subject characteristics and diet, there were no significant differences with regard to food- and yeast-specific IgG and IgG4 antibodies between subjects with IBS and controls. Lower values of IgG antibodies against egg (OR 0.99 (0.98 to 1.00), p = 0.002) and beef (OR 0.75 (0.60 to 0.94), p = 0.012) and higher values of IgG antibodies against chicken (OR 1.14 (1.03 to 1.27), p = 0.009) were associated with more severe symptoms.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that IgG-and IgG4-mediated food and yeast hypersensitivity in IBS is unlikely. IgG antibodies against food and yeast may reflect the diet.

Keywords:
Human; Adult; Irritable bowel syndrome; Cross-sectional studies; Diet; Gastrointestinal tract; Immunoglobulin G; Food Hypersensitivity