Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Gene mutation in Crohn’s disease stops body-bug chat


A gene commonly mutated in Crohn’s disease sufferers is responsible for allowing the body’s immune system to ‘chat’ to microbes in the gut. Researchers at Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust and Imperial College London who have uncovered the role of this gene say that it will now be possible to develop better tests for this debilitating disease, and will help researchers to uncover the genetic basis of Crohn’s and similar inflammatory bowel diseases.

Writing in the journal The Lancet tomorrow (21 May), the Hammersmith researchers describe the effect that mutations in the gene, known as NOD2/CARD15, has on the release of immune system molecules in the gut. Normally, the gene produces a protein that is involved in recognising bacteria in the gut. This recognition prevents the initiation of an early immune response, which subsequently leads to the lining of the gut becoming inflamed. In around a quarter of Crohn’s disease sufferers, mutations in the NOD2/CARD15 gene prevent this communication from taking place.

“The NOD2/CARD15 system was the first genetic defect found to be associated with Crohns disease, but until now we haven’t been able to understand exactly why this caused the disease,” comments study leader Dr David van Heel, gastroenterologist at Hammersmith Hospital and Imperial College London. “Our studies suggest that this defect does not allow the immune system to work properly in the very earliest stages of mounting an immune response."

“The body normally senses microbes present in the gut that are essential in maintaining normal gut function, and there is regular cross-talk between the gut lining and the microbes that they contain. This functional defect probably disrupts this natural process.”

“We think that this new finding provides a basis for new tests for Crohn’s disease, with implications for both research and future treatments,” adds Dr van Heel, gastroenterologist at Hammersmith Hospital and Imperial College, who led the study.

Crohn’s disease affects between 30,000 and 60,000 people in the UK, with between 3,000 and 6,000 new cases diagnosed each year. The number of people with Crohn’s disease has been rising steadily, particularly among young people.

It can affect anywhere from the mouth to the anus but most commonly affects the small intestine and/or colon. It causes inflammation, deep ulcers and scarring to the wall of the intestine and often occurs in patches. The main symptoms are pain in the abdomen, urgent diarrhoea, general tiredness and loss of weight. Crohn’s is sometimes associated with other inflammatory conditions affecting the joints, skin and eyes.

"These results, although some way from providing clinical treatment, are extremely encouraging," comments Professor Subrata Ghosh, medical advisor to NACC - the National Association for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease, and one of the co-authors of the study. "In addition to helping patients with this faulty gene, we may find that patients without this particular genetic defect have similar disruptions to other parts of the NOD2/CARD15 system. Our hope is that this will lead to the identification of further genetic defects, and ultimately to new treatment strategies."

Simon Wilde | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Don't Give the Slightest Chance to Toxic Elements in Medicinal Products
23.03.2018 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)

nachricht North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>