Loss of Response to Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha Therapy in Crohn’s Disease Is Not Associated with Emergence of Novel Inflammatory Pathways

Jay Luther, Manish Gala, Suraj J. Patel, Maneesh Dave, Nynke Borren, Ramnik J. Xavier, Ashwin N. Ananthakrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: While monoclonal antibodies against tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) are effective in treating Crohn’s disease (CD), approximately one-third of patients lose response. The mechanisms underlying this loss of response remain elusive. Aim: We sought to determine if novel biological pathways, including TNFα-independent inflammatory pathways, emerge in those with loss of response to anti-TNFα. Methods: Using RNA microarray technology in 28 patients with CD, we examined the colonic gene expression differences between those with active inflammation in the setting of loss of response to TNFα-antagonist therapy (“loss of responders”) compared to anti-TNFα naïve patients with active inflammation and those on anti-TNF therapy in disease remission. Pathway enrichment analyses were performed. Results: We found that colonic expression of chemokines known to drive inflammation (CXCL20, CXCL9, and CXCL10) was elevated in those with loss of response compared to those in remission. Expression of genes critical to modulating oxidative stress burden (DUOX2, DUOXA2, and NOS2) was also elevated. Additionally, MMP3, MMP1, and MMP12 were elevated in those with continued inflammation. Gene enrichment analysis revealed that loss of responders exhibited dysregulation in the cysteine and methionine metabolism pathway, suggesting alteration in oxidative stress burden. There were no differences in genes or pathways between loss of responders and those who were TNFα-naïve. However, loss of response occurred despite the ability of anti-TNFα therapy to normalize APO gene expression. Conclusion: Our analyses suggest that loss of response to anti-TNFα is not driven by the emergence of pathways that bypass the action or induce resistance to anti-TNFα therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)738-745
Number of pages8
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-TNF
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Loss of response
  • Microarray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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