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BACKGROUND: NOD2 variants are the strongest genetic predictors for susceptibility to Crohn's disease (CD). However, the clinical value of NOD2 on an individual patient level remains controversial. We aimed to define the predictive power of the major NOD2 mutations regarding complicated CD in a large single center cohort. METHODS: 1076 CD patients were prospectively genotyped for the three common CD-associated NOD2 mutations rs2066844, rs2066845, and rs2066847, followed by detailed genotype-phenotype analyses. RESULTS: Overall, 434 CD patients (40.3%) carried at least one of the three main NOD2 mutations. A significantly higher minor allele frequency (15.6%) of the NOD2 frameshift mutation p.Leu1007fsX1008 (rs2066847) was seen in patients with aggressive disease compared to 8.2% in patients with mild disease (p = 2.6 x 10-5). Moreover, a total of 54 CD patients (5.0%) were homozygous for this NOD2 frameshift mutation. 100% of these patients had ileal disease compared to 82% of NOD2 wild-type carriers (p<0.0001). In homozygous carriers of the NOD2 frameshift mutation, 87% presented with ileal stenosis, 68.5% had fistulas, and 72.2% required CD-related surgery despite immunosuppressive therapy in 87% of these patients. All homozygous carriers of the 1007fs mutation who were active smokers had ileal stenosis and required CD-related surgery. CONCLUSION: Homozygosity for Leu1007fsX1008 is an excellent biomarker for predicting complicated CD on an individual patient level. Active smoking and homozygosity for this mutation is associated with a 100% risk for developing ileal stenosis requiring CD-related surgery. In these patients, smoking cessation and early initiation of immunosuppressive strategies may be beneficial.

Original publication




Journal article


Plos one

Publication Date





Adolescent, Adult, Cohort Studies, Crohn Disease, Female, Gene Dosage, Gene Frequency, Genetic Markers, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Heterozygote, Homozygote, Humans, Ileal Diseases, Intestinal Obstruction, Logistic Models, Male, Mutation, Nod2 Signaling Adaptor Protein, Phenotype, Risk Factors, Severity of Illness Index, Smoking, Young Adult