Proteomic analyses do not reveal subclinical inflammation in fatigued patients with clinically quiescent inflammatory bowel disease

Arno R. Bourgonje, Sietse J. Wichers, Shixian Hu, Hendrik M. van Dullemen, Marijn C. Visschedijk, Klaas Nico Faber, Eleonora A.M. Festen, Gerard Dijkstra, Janneke N. Samsom, Rinse K. Weersma, Lieke M. Spekhorst*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Fatigue is a common and clinically challenging symptom in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), occurring in ~ 50% of patients with quiescent disease. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether fatigue in patients with clinically quiescent IBD is reflected by circulating inflammatory proteins, which might reflect ongoing subclinical inflammation. Ninety-two (92) different inflammation-related proteins were measured in plasma of 350 patients with clinically quiescent IBD. Quiescent IBD was defined as clinical (Harvey-Bradshaw Index < 5 or Simple Clinical Colitis Activity Index < 2.5) and biochemical remission (C-reactive protein < 5 mg/L and absence of anemia) at time of fatigue assessment. Leukemia inhibitory factor receptor (LIF-R) concentrations were inversely associated with severe fatigue, also after adjustment for confounding factors (nominal P < 0.05). Although solely LIF-R showed weak ability to discriminate between mild and severe fatigue (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.61, 95%CI: 0.53–0.69, P < 0.05), a combined set of the top seven (7) fatigue-associated proteins (all P < 0.10) was observed to have reasonable discriminative performance (AUC = 0.82 [95%CI: 0.74–0.91], P < 0.01). Fatigue in patients with IBD is not clearly reflected by distinct protein signatures, suggesting there is no subclinical inflammation defined by the studied inflammatory proteins. Future studies are warranted to investigate other proteomic markers that may reflect fatigue in clinically quiescent IBD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14581
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the collaborative T cell driven Immune Mediated Inflammatory Diseases (TIMID) project (LSHM18057-SGF) financed by the PPP allowance made available by Top Sector Life Sciences & Health to Samenwerkende Gezondheidsfondsen (SGF) to stimulate public–private partnerships and co-financing by health foundations that are part of the SGF. This work was further supported by Takeda (no grant no., to LMS) and the Junior Scientific Masterclass (JSM) of the University of Groningen (Grant No. 17-57, to ARB).

Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s).


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