The largest, most comprehensive genome-wide study of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)--including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis--has focused and narrowed the search for the genes that cause this common and debilitating illness, a team of researchers from the University of Chicago Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, and the Marshfield Medical Research Foundation in Marshfield, Wisconsin, report in the June 23 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists.
After typing 377 genetic markers on DNA from 439 IBD patients and 198 close relatives--from 174 separate families--the researchers identified regions on chromosomes 1p, 3q and 4q, which appear to contain genes that trigger the onset of the disease.
They also confirmed the role of one previously localized gene named IBD1, near the center of chromosome 16, that appears to act in concert with the disease gene on chromosome 1.
"The prospect of finding the genes involved is exciting because we know so little about what causes IBD," said Judy Cho, M.D., a gastroenterolgist at the University of Chicago and lead author of the study. "This genetic approach is our best bet for unraveling the complicated set of events that initiates these disorders and developing more specific therapies to treat the disease and not just the symptoms."
Steven R. Brant, M.D., director of the IBD Genetics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins and senior author of the study, said "Identifying the location of IBD genes is an important step toward the goal of preventing Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis from occurring in genetically susceptible individuals." Brant is also an assistant professor of medicine.
Inflammatory bowel disease includes Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis
(UC), chronic disorders that primarily affect the intestines, causing pain,
severe diarrhea, intestinal bleeding, weight loss and fever. They afflict about
250 out of every 100,000 people, usually b
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University of Chicago Medical Center