WebMD Health News
Louise Chang, MD
April 16, 2007 -- Scientists have identified five new DNA regions that may
make Crohn's disease more likely.
Those five DNA regions include three known genes (the ATG16L1, PHOX2B, and
NCF4 genes), a predicted gene called FAM92B, and a DNA spot located between
The researchers included John Rioux, PhD, of Canada's University de Montreal
and the Montreal Heart Institute.
They had previously reported that two other genes -- the CARD15 and IL23R
genes -- were associated with Crohn's disease.
Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. It
causes inflammation anywhere along the digestive tract. The most common
symptoms include abdominal
pain and diarrhea, which can be bloody.
In their new study, Rioux and colleagues screened the DNA of about 1,000
people with Crohn's disease and 1,000 without Crohn's disease.
The researchers found that Crohn's disease was associated with the five
newly discovered gene regions and with the two previously noted genes.
Those genetic associations were confirmed in two follow-up DNA screenings of
other people with and without Crohn's disease.
Further studies are needed to confirm the findings. Ultimately, such
research could lead to new Crohn's
disease treatments, note the researchers.
The study, published in the advance online edition of Nature
Genetics, doesn't blame Crohn's disease entirely on genes.
Inflammatory bowel disease -- including Crohn's disease -- is "complex" and
"results from a combination of genetic and nongenetic risk factors," write
Rioux and colleagues.
SOURCES: Rioux, J. Nature Genetics, April 15, 2007; advance online
edition. News release, Nature Genetics.
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