Immune signals of variations of a single gene linked to more severe Crohn's disease

LOS ANGELES− Building on previous evidence supporting the theory that the pathophysiology of Crohn's Disease is altered by genetic variation, recent studies have found that the combination of immune signals given by three variants of a single candidate gene affects the severity of the disease, particularly among Ashkenazi Jews. The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association, were reported by researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the University of Washington and Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Crohn's Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation or ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract and can sometimes run in families. While the cause is unknown, many professionals believe that the body's immune system may overreact to normal intestinal bacteria or that disease-causing bacteria and viruses may play a role in triggering the condition.

The recent study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, shows the effect of one particular gene − a Crohn's Disease candidate gene named TLR 5 − on both Jews and non-Jews with the disease.

It is estimated that American Jews are three times more likely to develop Crohn's Disease than the population as a whole. Approximately 80 percent of the six million Jews in the United States are Ashkenazi Jews, an ethnic group whose ancestors are from eastern and central Europe,

As Jerome I. Rotter, M.D., first author of the study, director of research and co-director of the Medical Genetics Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center explained, the innate immune system senses micro-organisms and pathogens using a family of proteins known as the Toll-Like Receptors (TLRs). This recognition activates both the innate and adaptive immune system, with each TLR recognizing a specific pattern of microbial components.

The aim of the study was to investigate three TLR5 gene variants and their relationship to Cr

Contact: Sandy Van
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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