Research team identifies genes linked to ulcerative colitis

March 17, 2010, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

A study of the human genome led by Cedars-Sinai researchers has now identified genes linked to ulcerative colitis, offering clues as to what causes the condition and potential avenues for new therapies to treat the disease.

The study, published in , examined genes of nearly 13,000 patients to determine which parts of the are linked to . The study demonstrated more than 30 regions of the genome are connected to the risk of developing ulcerative colitis.

"This gives us a number of insights into the disease," said Dermot P.B. McGovern, M.D., Ph.D., director of Translational Medicine for the Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and primary author of the paper. "An increased understanding of the genetics gives us some insight into what causes ulcerative colitis and will potentially help us indentify new therapies for ulcerative colitis."

Understanding the genetics of the disease may also explain why the condition varies so much from patient to patient in severity, symptoms and response to therapies. In turn, said McGovern, this can lead to a more personalized approach to treating ulcerative colitis patients. For example, in addition to more effectively matching currently available medications to patients, the study may help identify entirely new avenues for research, enabling doctors to develop new treatments for ulcerative colitis.

Ulcerative colitis, one of the most common types of or IBD, is a chronic digestive disorder. An estimated 1.4 million Americans have IBD, and about 30,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Ulcerative colitis causes and ulcers in the top layers of the lining of the large intestine. The most common symptoms include , bloody diarrhea and bleeding from the rectum. Patients may also experience fatigue, weight loss and loss of appetite. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic relapsing condition with periods of remission interspersed with flares of disease, although about 10 percent of ulcerative colitis patients have symptoms chronically. Patients with ulcerative colitis can be at increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New methods find undiagnosed genetic diseases in electronic health records

March 15, 2018
Patients diagnosed with heart failure, stroke, infertility and kidney failure could actually be suffering from rare and undiagnosed genetic diseases.

Hundreds of genes linked to intelligence in global study

March 14, 2018
More than 500 genes linked to intelligence have been identified in the largest study of its kind. Scientists compared variation in DNA in more than 240,000 people from around the world, to discover which genes are associated ...

Study finds that genes play a role in empathy

March 12, 2018
A new study published today suggests that how empathic we are is not just a result of our upbringing and experience but also partly a result of our genes.

Large-scale genetic study provides new insight into the causes of stroke

March 12, 2018
An international research consortium studying 520,000 individuals from around the world has identified 22 new genetic risk factors for stroke, thus tripling the number of gene regions known to affect stroke risk. The results ...

Study suggests some CpGs in the genome can be hemimethylated by design

March 9, 2018
A pair of researchers at Emory University has found that some CpGs in the genome can be hemimethylated by design, rather than by chance. In their paper published in the journal Science, Chenhuan Xu and Victor Corces describe ...

Intravenous arginine benefits children after acute metabolic strokes

March 9, 2018
Children with mitochondrial diseases who suffered acute metabolic strokes benefited from rapid intravenous treatment with the amino acid arginine, experiencing no side effects from the treatment. The diseases were caused ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.