Genetic association studies have identified 215 risk loci for inflammatory bowel disease1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8, thereby uncovering fundamental aspects of its molecular biology. We performed a genome-wide association study of 25,305 individuals and conducted a meta-analysis with published summary statistics, yielding a total sample size of 59,957 subjects. We identified 25 new susceptibility loci, 3 of which contain integrin genes that encode proteins in pathways that have been identified as important therapeutic targets in inflammatory bowel disease. The associated variants are correlated with expression changes in response to immune stimulus at two of these genes (ITGA4 and ITGB8) and at previously implicated loci (ITGAL and ICAM1). In all four cases, the expression-increasing allele also increases disease risk. We also identified likely causal missense variants in a gene implicated in primary immune deficiency, PLCG2, and a negative regulator of inflammation, SLAMF8. Our results demonstrate that new associations at common variants continue to identify genes relevant to therapeutic target identification and prioritization.

  • Subscribe to Nature Genetics for full access:



Additional access options:

Already a subscriber?  Log in  now or  Register  for online access.


  1. 1.

    et al. Association analyses identify 38 susceptibility loci for inflammatory bowel disease and highlight shared genetic risk across populations. Nat. Genet. 47, 979–986 (2015).

  2. 2.

    et al. Sequence variants in the autophagy gene IRGM and multiple other replicating loci contribute to Crohn's disease susceptibility. Nat. Genet. 39, 830–832 (2007).

  3. 3.

    et al. A genome-wide association study identifies 2 susceptibility loci for Crohn's disease in a Japanese population. Gastroenterology 144, 781–788 (2013).

  4. 4.

    et al. Meta-analysis identifies 29 additional ulcerative colitis risk loci, increasing the number of confirmed associations to 47. Nat. Genet. 43, 246–252 (2011).

  5. 5.

    et al. A genome-wide scan of Ashkenazi Jewish Crohn's disease suggests novel susceptibility loci. PLoS Genet. 8, e1002559 (2012).

  6. 6.

    et al. A genome-wide association study identifies a novel locus at 6q22.1 associated with ulcerative colitis. Hum. Mol. Genet. 23, 6927–6934 (2014).

  7. 7.

    et al. Genome-wide association study of Crohn's disease in Koreans revealed three new susceptibility loci and common attributes of genetic susceptibility across ethnic populations. Gut 63, 80–87 (2014).

  8. 8.

    et al. Analysis of five chronic inflammatory diseases identifies 27 new associations and highlights disease-specific patterns at shared loci. Nat. Genet. 48, 510–518 (2016).

  9. 9.

    et al. Exploring the genetic architecture of inflammatory bowel disease by whole-genome sequencing identifies association at ADCY7. Nat. Genet. (2017).

  10. 10.

    et al. The UK10K project identifies rare variants in health and disease. Nature 526, 82–90 (2015).

  11. 11.

    1000 Genomes Project Consortium. A global reference for human genetic variation. Nature 526, 68–74 (2015).

  12. 12.

    et al. Association mapping of inflammatory bowel disease loci to single variant resolution. Preprint at bioRxiv (2015).

  13. 13.

    et al. The orphan nuclear receptor RORγt directs the differentiation program of proinflammatory IL-17+ T helper cells. Cell 126, 1121–1133 (2006).

  14. 14.

    et al. Migration of myeloid cells during inflammation is differentially regulated by the cell surface receptors Slamf1 and Slamf8. PLoS One 10, e0121968 (2015).

  15. 15.

    et al. Cutting edge: Slamf8 is a negative regulator of Nox2 activity in macrophages. J. Immunol. 188, 5829–5832 (2012).

  16. 16.

    et al. A general framework for estimating the relative pathogenicity of human genetic variants. Nat. Genet. 46, 310–315 (2014).

  17. 17.

    et al. Influence of the transcription factor RORγt on the development of NKp46+ cell populations in gut and skin. Nat. Immunol. 10, 75–82 (2009).

  18. 18.

    et al. Focused specificity of intestinal TH17 cells towards commensal bacterial antigens. Nature 510, 152–156 (2014).

  19. 19.

    et al. RORγt+ innate lymphoid cells regulate intestinal homeostasis by integrating negative signals from the symbiotic microbiota. Nat. Immunol. 12, 320–326 (2011).

  20. 20.

    et al. The treatment-naive microbiome in new-onset Crohn's disease. Cell Host Microbe 15, 382–392 (2014).

  21. 21.

    et al. Transient inhibition of ROR-γt therapeutically limits intestinal inflammation by reducing TH17 cells and preserving group 3 innate lymphoid cells. Nat. Med. 22, 319–323 (2016).

  22. 22.

    , , , & Phospholipase Cγ2 plays a role in TCR signal transduction and T cell selection. J. Immunol. 189, 2326–2332 (2012).

  23. 23.

    et al. Cold urticaria, immunodeficiency, and autoimmunity related to PLCG2 deletions. N. Engl. J. Med. 366, 330–338 (2012).

  24. 24.

    et al. A hypermorphic missense mutation in PLCG2, encoding phospholipase Cγ2, causes a dominantly inherited autoinflammatory disease with immunodeficiency. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 91, 713–720 (2012).

  25. 25.

    et al. Host–microbe interactions have shaped the genetic architecture of inflammatory bowel disease. Nature 491, 119–124 (2012).

  26. 26.

    et al. A new genetic subgroup of chronic granulomatous disease with autosomal recessive mutations in p40phox and selective defects in neutrophil NADPH oxidase activity. Blood 114, 3309–3315 (2009).

  27. 27.

    et al. Genome-wide association study identifies new susceptibility loci for Crohn disease and implicates autophagy in disease pathogenesis. Nat. Genet. 39, 596–604 (2007).

  28. 28.

    et al. Confirmation of association of IRGM and NCF4 with ileal Crohn's disease in a population-based cohort. Genes Immun. 9, 561–565 (2008).

  29. 29.

    et al. Resolving TYK2 locus genotype-to-phenotype differences in autoimmunity. Sci. Transl. Med. 8, 363ra149 (2016).

  30. 30.

    Integrins: bidirectional, allosteric signaling machines. Cell 110, 673–687 (2002).

  31. 31.

    et al. Vedolizumab as induction and maintenance therapy for Crohn's disease. N. Engl. J. Med. 369, 711–721 (2013).

  32. 32.

    et al. Vedolizumab as induction and maintenance therapy for ulcerative colitis. N. Engl. J. Med. 369, 699–710 (2013).

  33. 33.

    et al. Etrolizumab as induction therapy for ulcerative colitis: a randomised, controlled, phase 2 trial. Lancet 384, 309–318 (2014).

  34. 34.

    , , , & Alicaforsen: an emerging therapeutic agent for ulcerative colitis and refractory pouchitis. Gastroenterol. Res. 7, 51–55 (2014).

  35. 35.

    , , , & Efalizumab, a human monoclonal anti-CD11a antibody, in the treatment of moderate to severe Crohn's Disease: an open-label pilot study. Dig. Dis. Sci. 56, 1806–1810 (2011).

  36. 36.

    et al. Natalizumab induction and maintenance therapy for Crohn's disease. N. Engl. J. Med. 353, 1912–1925 (2005).

  37. 37.

    et al. Monoclonal antibody–associated progressive multifocal leucoencephalopathy in patients treated with rituximab, natalizumab, and efalizumab: a Review from the Research on Adverse Drug Events and Reports (RADAR) Project. Lancet Oncol. 10, 816–824 (2009).

  38. 38.

    & TGF-β activation and function in immunity. Annu. Rev. Immunol. 32, 51–82 (2014).

  39. 39.

    et al. Loss of integrin αvβ8 on dendritic cells causes autoimmunity and colitis in mice. Nature 449, 361–365 (2007).

  40. 40.

    et al. Integrin αvβ8-mediated TGF-β activation by effector regulatory T cells is essential for suppression of T-cell-mediated inflammation. Immunity 42, 903–915 (2015).

  41. 41.

    et al. Mongersen, an oral SMAD7 antisense oligonucleotide, and Crohn's disease. N. Engl. J. Med. 372, 1104–1113 (2015).

  42. 42.

    et al. CARD15 mutations in Blau syndrome. Nat. Genet. 29, 19–20 (2001).

  43. 43.

    et al. optiCall: a robust genotype-calling algorithm for rare, low-frequency and common variants. Bioinformatics 28, 1598–1603 (2012).

  44. 44.

    Efficient haplotype matching and storage using the positional Burrows–Wheeler transform (PBWT). Bioinformatics 30, 1266–1272 (2014).

  45. 45.

    et al. LD Score regression distinguishes confounding from polygenicity in genome-wide association studies. Nat. Genet. 47, 291–295 (2015).

  46. 46.

    Bayes factors for genome-wide association studies: comparison with P-values. Genet. Epidemiol. 33, 79–86 (2009).

  47. 47.

    et al. Bayesian refinement of association signals for 14 loci in 3 common diseases. Nat. Genet. 44, 1294–1301 (2012).

  48. 48.

    et al. Identification of context-dependent expression quantitative trait loci in whole blood. Nat. Genet. (2017).

  49. 49.

    et al. Characterizing the genetic basis of transcriptome diversity through RNA-sequencing of 922 individuals. Genome Res. 24, 14–24 (2014).

  50. 50.

    , , & Identification of genetic variants associated with alternative splicing using sQTLseekeR. Nat. Commun. 5, 4698 (2014).

  51. 51.

    , , , & Fast and efficient QTL mapper for thousands of molecular phenotypes. Bioinformatics 32, 1479–1485 (2016).

  52. 52.

    et al. Bayesian test for colocalisation between pairs of genetic association studies using summary statistics. PLoS Genet. 10, e1004383 (2014).

  53. 53.

    et al. Ustekinumab induction and maintenance therapy in refractory Crohn's disease. N. Engl. J. Med. 367, 1519–1528 (2012).

  54. 54.

    et al. Maintenance infliximab for Crohn's disease: the ACCENT I randomised trial. Lancet 359, 1541–1549 (2002).

  55. 55.

    et al. Adalimumab for maintenance of clinical response and remission in patients with Crohn's disease: the CHARM trial. Gastroenterology 132, 52–65 (2007).

  56. 56.

    et al. PID: the Pathway Interaction Database. Nucleic Acids Res. 37, D674–D679 (2009).

Download references


We thank all individuals who contributed samples to the study. This work was co-funded by the Wellcome Trust (098051) and the Medical Research Council, UK (MR/J00314X/1). Case collections were supported by Crohn's and Colitis UK. K.M.d.L., L.M., C.A.L., Y.L., D.R., J.G.-A., N.J.P., C.A.A. and J.C.B. are supported by the Wellcome Trust (098051; 093885/Z/10/Z; 094491/Z/10/Z). K.M.d.L. is supported by a Woolf Fisher Trust scholarship. C.A.L. is a clinical lecturer funded by the NIHR. We thank A. Stanton for coordinating the patient recruitment at Guy's and St. Thomas'. We acknowledge support from the UK Department of Health via NIHR comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre awards to Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with King's College London and to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, in partnership with the University of Cambridge. This research was also supported by the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre. The UK Household Longitudinal Study is led by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The survey was conducted by NatCen, and the genome-wide scan data were analyzed and deposited by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Information on how to access the data can be found on the Understanding Society website.

Author information

Author notes

    • Katrina M de Lange
    • , Loukas Moutsianas
    •  & James C Lee

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

    • Carl A Anderson
    •  & Jeffrey C Barrett

    These authors jointly directed this work.


  1. Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, UK.

    • Katrina M de Lange
    • , Loukas Moutsianas
    • , Yang Luo
    • , Daniel L Rice
    • , Javier Gutierrez-Achury
    • , Sun-Gou Ji
    • , Carl A Anderson
    •  & Jeffrey C Barrett
  2. Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research Group, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.

    • James C Lee
    •  & Miles Parkes
  3. Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.

    • Christopher A Lamb
  4. Division of Genetics and Rheumatology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Yang Luo
  5. Program in Medical and Population Genetics, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Yang Luo
  6. Precision Medicine Exeter, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.

    • Nicholas A Kennedy
    • , Graham Heap
    •  & Tariq Ahmad
  7. IBD Pharmacogenetics, Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation Trust, Exeter, UK.

    • Nicholas A Kennedy
    • , Graham Heap
    •  & Tariq Ahmad
  8. Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Headington, UK.

    • Luke Jostins
  9. Christ Church, University of Oxford, St Aldates, UK.

    • Luke Jostins
  10. Gastrointestinal Unit, Western General Hospital, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

    • Elaine R Nimmo
    • , Jack Satsangi
    •  & Charlie W Lees
  11. Department of Gastroenterology, Torbay Hospital, Torbay, UK.

    • Cathryn Edwards
  12. Department of Child Life and Health, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

    • Paul Henderson
    •  & David C Wilson
  13. Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, UK.

    • Paul Henderson
  14. Department of Medicine, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, UK.

    • Craig Mowat
  15. Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, St Thomas' Hospital, Department of Gastroenterology, London, UK.

    • Jeremy Sanderson
  16. Translational Gastroenterology Unit, John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

    • Alison Simmons
    •  & Holm Uhlig
  17. Human Immunology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

    • Alison Simmons
  18. Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, UK.

    • David C Wilson
  19. Gastroenterology and General Medicine, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich, UK.

    • Mark Tremelling
  20. Department of Medicine, St. Mark's Hospital, Harrow, UK.

    • Ailsa Hart
  21. Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Life Science and Medicine, King's College London, Guy's Hospital, London, UK.

    • Christopher G Mathew
    •  & Natalie J Prescott
  22. Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

    • Christopher G Mathew
  23. Genetic Medicine, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Manchester, UK.

    • William G Newman
  24. Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.

    • William G Newman
  25. Department of Paediatrics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

    • Holm Uhlig
  26. Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK.

    • Chris Hawkey
  27. Institute of Human Genetics, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.

    • John C Mansfield


  1. Search for Katrina M de Lange in:

  2. Search for Loukas Moutsianas in:

  3. Search for James C Lee in:

  4. Search for Christopher A Lamb in:

  5. Search for Yang Luo in:

  6. Search for Nicholas A Kennedy in:

  7. Search for Luke Jostins in:

  8. Search for Daniel L Rice in:

  9. Search for Javier Gutierrez-Achury in:

  10. Search for Sun-Gou Ji in:

  11. Search for Graham Heap in:

  12. Search for Elaine R Nimmo in:

  13. Search for Cathryn Edwards in:

  14. Search for Paul Henderson in:

  15. Search for Craig Mowat in:

  16. Search for Jeremy Sanderson in:

  17. Search for Jack Satsangi in:

  18. Search for Alison Simmons in:

  19. Search for David C Wilson in:

  20. Search for Mark Tremelling in:

  21. Search for Ailsa Hart in:

  22. Search for Christopher G Mathew in:

  23. Search for William G Newman in:

  24. Search for Miles Parkes in:

  25. Search for Charlie W Lees in:

  26. Search for Holm Uhlig in:

  27. Search for Chris Hawkey in:

  28. Search for Natalie J Prescott in:

  29. Search for Tariq Ahmad in:

  30. Search for John C Mansfield in:

  31. Search for Carl A Anderson in:

  32. Search for Jeffrey C Barrett in:


K.M.d.L., L.M., Y.L., L.J., D.L.R., C.A.A. and S.-G.J. performed statistical analysis. K.M.d.L., L.M., Y.L., L.J., J.C.L., J.G.-A., S.-G.J., C.A.L., N.A.K. and C.A.A. analyzed the data. G.H., E.R.N., C.E., C.M., A.S., D.C.W., M.T., A.H., C.G.M., M.P., W.G.M., C.W.L., H.U., C.H., N.J.P., T.A., J.C.M., J. Satsangi, J. Sanderson and P.H. contributed samples and/or materials. C.A.A., J.C.B., K.M.d.L., L.M., J.C.L., C.G.M., M.P., C.A.L., N.A.K., Y.L. and P.H. wrote the manuscript. J.C.B., C.A.A., J.C.M., M.P., C.W.L., T.A. and N.J.P. conceived and designed experiments.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Carl A Anderson or Jeffrey C Barrett.

Integrated supplementary information

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Text and Figures

    Supplementary Figures 1–7

Excel files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Table 1

    GWAS, sequencing and summary statistic data sets included in this study.

  2. 2.

    Supplementary Table 2

    Meta-analysis association statistics at all 241 known and novel loci.

  3. 3.

    Supplementary Table 3

    Fine-mapping summary statistics for 65 loci where fine-mapping was attempted.

  4. 4.

    Supplementary Table 4

    Enrichment of known IBD loci for genes associated with Mendelian disorders of inflammation and immunity.

  5. 5.

    Supplementary Table 5

    Colocalization between meta-analysis association statistics and monocyte stimulus response eQTLs.

  6. 6.

    Supplementary Table 6

    IBD-associated loci containing genes in immune pathways related to classes of approved therapeutics.

  7. 7.

    Supplementary Table 7

    Overlap of 25 novel IBD-associated loci with known eQTL signals.