Researchers at The University of Alberta and Mount Sinai Hospital and The University of Toronto have shown in a pilot study that urine and serum metabolomics (measurement of small molecules that reflect the state of cells or tissues) can predict active IBD in pregnancy.

Predicting IBD disease activity in pregnancy can be challenging since pregnancy can affect the GI tract – e.g. hormonal changes can result in constipation or diarrhea symptoms – making it hard to know if symptoms are due to active IBD. Although fecal calprotectin, a stool test, can be used to detect active disease, many people find it hard to do stool tests especially during pregnancy.

Thanks to the study volunteers who gave urine and stool and completed questionnaires throughout preconception and pregnancy, researchers were able to analyze enough samples to show that certain urine and serum metabolites could predict disease activity, future flare, and pregnancy outcomes at delivery.

As this was a small pilot study, future larger studies are needed, but the results of this study are promising towards the development of urine or serum tests for IBD disease activity and for predicting future flares in pregnancy.

We thank all study participants and referring clinicians as well as the laboratory scientists who made this research possible!

Read the published manuscript

Richard Y. Wu, Parul Tandon, Joyce S. Oh, Lindsy Ambrosio, Naomi Hotte, Binal Shah-Gandhi, Karen L. Madsen, Levinus A. Dieleman, Shokrollah Elahi, Karen I. Kroeker, Vivian Huang. Urine and Serum Metabolomic Profiles Differ by Disease Activity in Pregnant Women with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Gastro Hep Advances Online First July 2022