Background: Pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has a high prevalence of coexistent atopy. Filaggrin (FLG) loss-of-function variants (null-alleles) are associated with eczema and asthma in association with eczema. The aim was to assess the contribution of FLG null-alleles to pediatric IBD susceptibility and to coexistent atopy (eczema, asthma, allergic rhinitis, or food allergy).
Methods: FLG variants (R501X and 2282del4) were genotyped in 403 children with IBD, 683 parents, and 996 population controls.
Results: In all, 11% of IBD patients carried at least I FLG null-allele compared to 11% of population controls (P > 0.4). Carriage of I or more null-alleles in patients with atopy (present in 52% of IBD patients) differed from IBD patients without atopy (14% versus 6%, P = 0.01; odds ratio [OR] 2.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2-5.1). The effect of FLG null-alleles was strongest for eczema (19% versus 7%, P = 0.0003; OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.7-6.6) and food allergy (28% versus 8%, P = 0.0001; OR 4.5, 95% CI 2.0-10.0). The presence of more than 1 atopic disease tended to increase the associated OR: eczema + asthma (23% versus 7%, P = 0.001; OR 3.9, 95% CI 1.6-9.1), eczema + asthma + allergic rhinitis (29% versus 7%, P = 0.0006; OR 5.4, 95% CI 1.9-15.4) and eczema + asthma + allergic rhinitis + food allergy (45% versus 6%, P < 10(-4); OR 12.2, 95% CI 3.2-46.3). Logistic regression analysis of IBD cases confirmed the association of carriage of an FLG null-allele with atopy (P = 0.01; OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.2-5.1) and co-occurrence of different forms of atopy (P = 0.003; OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.5-8.1).
Conclusions: Filaggrin null-alleles have no effect on IBD susceptibility but contribute to coexistent eczema and food allergy.