Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research links 29 genome regions with common form of inflammatory bowel disease

07.02.2011
Genome regions are signposts to the biology of ulcerative colitis

An international team of researchers has made new links between 29 regions of the genome and ulcerative colitis – a common form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The new findings increase the total number of genome regions known to be associated with inflammatory bowel disease to 99.

The results point to several biological processes, including the way that our bodies maintain the lining of the intestinal wall, which are likely to play an important role in the development of ulcerative colitis.

The causes of inflammatory bowel disease are not fully understood, although it is thought that patients with inflammatory bowel disease have an overactive immune response against typical gut contents. Together, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease – the two primary causes of inflammatory bowel disease – affect one in 250 people in Europe, North America and Australasia.

Unlike Crohn's disease, which can impair any part of the human digestive tract, ulcerative colitis is restricted to the large bowel. Up to 20 per cent of ulcerative colitis patients will require surgery to remove the entire large bowel.

"The outcomes and quality of life for patients with ulcerative colitis can be bleak", says Dr. John Rioux, from the Montreal Heart Institute and the Université de Montréal, senior author on the paper, and co-chair of the International IBD Genetics Consortium. "To understand the genetic causes of the disease, we carried out the largest study of the disease to date – taking a magnifying glass to over one million sites in the genomes of more than 26,000 people."

"Ultimately, we hope that unmasking the genetic processes that give rise to the disease will minimise the need for surgical outcomes, by opening the door for new therapies that can stop the disease in its tracks."

"With one in 160 Canadians living with either Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, we have among the highest rates of IBD in the world," says Dr. Kevin Glasgow, Chief Executive Officer of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada. "Given the often limited treatment options and quality of life for patients with ulcerative colitis, the Canadian IBD community welcomes this research breakthrough and looks forward to its therapeutic application."

The team carried out a genome-wide scan to look for changes in the genetic code common to patients with ulcerative colitis. They did this by looking at genetic data from more than 32,000 apparently healthy people, and more than 16,000 people suffering from ulcerative colitis.

Using the technique, the team homed in on 29 new regions that are associated with the disease – bringing the total number for ulcerative colitis to 47 and the total for inflammatory bowel disease to 99.

Like signposts, these regions pointed the researchers towards several genes that might play an important role in ulcerative colitis.

"The genomic regions we have identified give us an insight into the biology underlying ulcerative colitis," says Dr. Carl Anderson, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and first author on the paper. "These important initial discoveries are the building blocks on which we can begin to derive better IBD treatments, though much further work is needed before these become a clinical reality. "

"To give us a better understanding of IBD biology, we compared the results of this ulcerative colitis study to those of a similar study we recently completed looking at Crohn's disease, and the results were very informative."

The team found significant overlap between the genetic regions associated with each disease, with at least 19 of the total 47 ulcerative colitis regions also associated with Crohn's disease.

The researchers show that many of the overlapping regions include genes involved in expanding and maintaining a group of T-cells involved in our immune response. The finding supports the idea that the way our immune system responds to the natural bacteria found in the gut could be an important part of the disease profile of inflammatory bowel disease.

The researchers suggest that the candidate genes – including several key members of the 'IL23 pathway' – could provide good targets for researchers developing therapeutic interventions against the disease.

As well as finding genes that point towards a shared biology – the researchers also found evidence of genetic events that might be unique to ulcerative colitis.

"For many patients, ulcerative colitis means a lifetime of bloody diarrhoea and stomach pains," says Dr. John Rioux. "The disease can be very severe in some patients resulting in life-threatening inflammation of the large bowel, and there is an increased risk of developing bowel cancer. This is a really unpleasant and intrusive illness that typically affects young adults, and for which we presently have no known cure. "

"We have some good medical therapies, but for many patients these are either not effective or poorly tolerated. We therefore have an urgent unmet therapeutic need and it is my great hope that we can translate our really exciting genetic findings into effective new therapies in the next five to ten years, " said Dr. John Rioux.

The new findings open the door for further research to explore the candidate genes identified and their possible role in the development of the ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease.

About inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel disease is a term used to describe conditions that are characterised by inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. The term IBD is used predominantly to describe two diseases: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. In Crohn's disease, the inflammation can affect any part of the digestive tract. In ulcerative colitis, the inflammation affects only the colon. Together, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease affect one in 250 people in Europe, North America and Australasia. Inflammatory bowel disease should not be mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome – a separate disease which can present some similar symptoms.

Publication Details

Anderson C A et al. (2011) Meta-analysis identifies 29 additional ulcerative colitis risk loci, increasing the number of confirmed associations to 47. Nature Genetics. Published online before print at doi: 10.1038/ng.764

Funding

A full list of funding agencies is available at the Nature Genetics website.

Participating Centres

A full list of participating centres is available at the Nature Genetics website.

William Raillant-Clark | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umontreal.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>