The Impact of Ethnicity and Country of Birth on Inflammatory Bowel Disease Phenotype: a Prospective Cohort Study

L. M. Spekhorst, M. Severs, N. K. H. de Boer, E. A. M. Festen, H. H. Fidder, F. Hoentjen, F. Imhann, D. J. de Jong, A. E. van der Meulen-de Jong, M. J. Pierik, C. J. van der Woude, G. Dijkstra, C. Y. Ponsioen, M. Lowenberg, B. Oldenburg, R. K. Weersma*, Parelsnoer Inst, Dutch Initiative Crohn and Colitis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and Aims: The number of patients with inflammatory bowel disease [IBD], of non-Caucasian descent in Western Europe, is increasing. We aimed to explore the impact of ethnicity and country of birth on IBD phenotype.

Methods: IBD patients treated in the eight University Medical Centers in The Netherlands [Dutch IBD Biobank] were divided into two groups according to their ethnicity: 1] Caucasian patients of Western and Central European descent [CEU]; and 2] patients of non-Caucasian descent [non-CEU]. The non-CEU group was subdivided according to country of birth, into: born in The Netherlands or Western Europe [non-CEU European born]; or born outside Western-Europe who migrated to The Netherlands [non-CEU non-European born]. Both comparisons were analysed for phenotype differences [by chi-square test].

Results: The Dutch IBD Biobank included 2921 CEU patients and 233 non-CEU patients. Non-CEU Crohn's disease [CD] patients more often had upper gastro-intestinal disease [16% vs 8%, p = 0.001] and anal stenosis [10% vs 4%, p = 0.002] than CEU CD patients. The use of anti-tumour necrosis factor [TNF] agents and immunomodulators was higher in non-CEU IBD patients than in CEU IBD patients [45% vs 38%, p = 0.042] and [77% vs 66%, p = 0.001], respectively. Non-CEU IBD patients born in Europe [n = 116] were diagnosed at a lower age than non-CEU IBD patients born outside Europe [n = 115] [at 22.7 vs 28.9 years old, p <0.001].

Conclusion: Non-Caucasians had more severe disease behaviour than Caucasians. Non-CEU patients born in Europe were diagnosed at a lower age with IBD than those born outside Europe who migrated to The Netherlands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1463-1470
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Crohn's & Colitis
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Crohn's disease
  • ulcerative colitis
  • ethnicity
  • phenotype


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