Pediatrics researchers have identified a gene variant that raises a childs risk of Crohns disease, a chronic and painful condition attributed to inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
The research reinforces previous results by German researchers, who found the same gene variant associated with the adult form of Crohns disease.
Researchers from The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia and The University of Pennsylvania reported their results in a letter in the August issue of the journal Gut.
Because Crohns disease is complex, with multiple genes interacting with each other and with environmental factors, its important to sort out specific genes and to replicate previous findings, said the studys first author, Robert N. Baldassano, M.D., director of the Center for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Childrens Hospital. There are different types of Crohns disease, so classifying types by genetic profiles may help us select the most appropriate treatments for each patient.
The study compared the genomes of 143 children with Crohns disease to genomes of 282 matched control subjects. The study team found that 64 percent of children with Crohns disease had a specific variant form of the gene ATG16L1, compared with 52 percent of the healthy children. The odds ratio for children with the gene variant was 1.62 compared to control children, meaning that those who have the variant were 62 percent more likely to have Crohns disease than children with the more common allele.
A separate test that analyzed trios (a Crohns patient and both parents) also found an association between the ATG16L1 gene variant and disease symptoms. This finding strengthened the results of the pediatric case-control study.
The genome-wide association study, which used highly automated analytic equipment to scan each patients DNA for more than half a million genetic markers, was performed at the Center for Applied Genomics at Childr
Contact: John Ascenzi
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia