Genetic analyses have identified many variants associated with the risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) development. Among these variants, the ones located within the
NOD2gene have the highest odds ratio of all IBD genetic risk variants. Also, patients with Crohn’s disease (CD) have been shown to have an altered gut microbiome, which might be a reflection of inflammation itself or an effect of other parameters that contribute to the risk of the disease. Since NOD2 is an intracellular pattern recognition receptor that senses bacterial peptidoglycan in the cytosol and stimulates the host immune response (Al Nabhani et al., PLoS Pathog 13:e1006177, 2017), it is hypothesized that NOD2variants represent perfect candidates for influencing host-microbiome interactions. We hypothesized that NOD2risk variants affect the microbiome composition of healthy first degree relative (FDR) of CD patients and thus potentially contribute to an altered microbiome state before disease onset. Methods
Based on this, we studied a large cohort of 1546 healthy FDR of CD patients and performed a focused analysis of the association of three major CD SNPs in the coding region of the
NOD2gene, which are known to confer a 15–40-fold increased risk of developing CD in homozygous or compound heterozygous individuals. Results
Our results show that carriers of the C allele at rs2066845 was significantly associated with an increase in relative abundance in the fecal bacterial family Erysipelotrichaceae.
This result suggests that
NOD2polymorphisms contribute to fecal microbiome composition in asymptomatic individuals. Whether this modulation of the microbiome influences the future development of CD remains to be assessed.