Genetic link to IBS identified in women

April 5, 2018, Karolinska Institutet

New research coordinated by Karolinska Institutet in Sweden links certain DNA variants to increased risk of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in women. The findings, published in the scientific journal Gastroenterology, might help explain why IBS is more common in women than in men.

Irritable bowel syndrome is the most common gastrointestinal disorder. More than 10 per cent of the population, women more than men, suffer from recurrent symptoms including abdominal pain, gas, diarrhoea and constipation. What causes IBS is largely unknown, which hampers the development of effective treatment for many patients. Genetic predisposition to IBS is recognised, although poorly investigated.

Now an international research team led by scientists from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified DNA variants that are associated with increased risk of IBS, but only in women.

"Exploiting the large UK Biobank resource, as well as several patient cohorts from European and US expert centres, we have been able to study to IBS with increased statistical power, better than ever before," says corresponding author Mauro D'Amato, visiting professor at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Medicine in Solna and coordinator of the bellygenes initiative that led to the discovery.

The researchers used genotype data from more than 300,000 UK Biobank participants in a genome-wide association study (GWAS). They found DNA variants that associate with increased risk of a doctor's diagnosis of IBS in women but not in men, specifically from a region on chromosome 9 previously reported to also influence puberty timing in women (age at first menstruation).

By following up this result in 2,045 patients from IBS expert centres in Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and the US, the researchers observed further associations with constipation-predominant IBS as well as harder stools, again only in .

"Although we cannot point to individual genes at this early stage, we believe these results are exciting, as they converge with existing data on female preponderance and a role of sex-hormones in IBS," says Mauro D'Amato.

In addition to Karolinska Institutet, researchers and clinicians from several other institutions participated in the study, including the Mayo Clinic and University of California Los Angeles in the US, IKMB in Kiel Germany, TARGID in Leuven Belgium, BioDonostia HRI in San Sebastian Spain, the Universities of Bologna in Italy, Groningen and Maastricht in the Netherlands, and others.

Explore further: New research links genetic defects in carbohydrate digestion to irritable bowel syndrome

More information: "Female-specific Association Between Variants on Chromosome 9 and Self-reported Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome" Gastroenterology (2018). DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2018.03.064

Related Stories

New research links genetic defects in carbohydrate digestion to irritable bowel syndrome

November 21, 2016
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects a large portion of the general population. New research coordinated by Karolinska Institutet now shows a link between defective sucrase-isomaltase gene variants and IBS.

First screen for genetic risk factors of IBS in the general population

September 24, 2014
In the largest gene-hunting effort ever conducted in irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, researchers have found that some regions in the genome may be associated with an increased risk of developing the disease. The results from ...

Genes linked to people's bowel habits

August 11, 2016
A new publication in the scientific journal Gut sheds light on the role that certain genes have in determining how people differ in their bowel habits. The study results from the collaboration of research groups at Karolinska ...

Female sex not a protective factor against heart disease in type 1 diabetes

February 21, 2018
Constrictions of the coronary blood vessels is a possible consequence of type 1 diabetes, and one that can eventually lead to myocardial infarction or heart failure. Generally speaking, women are afflicted by coronary artery ...

Previous screening results important for decision about smear tests after age 60

October 25, 2017
Being screened again after the age of 60 reduces the risk of cervical cancer in women who have previously had abnormal smear tests and in women who did not have smear tests in their 50s, researchers at Karolinska Institutet ...

Asthma increases risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery

October 4, 2017
Women with asthma suffer more often from preeclampsia (PE) and run a higher risk of giving birth to underweight babies. These and other complications during pregnancy and delivery can not be explained by hereditary or environmental ...

Recommended for you

Daily low-dose aspirin may be weapon against ovarian cancer

July 20, 2018
(HealthDay)— One low-dose aspirin a day could help women avoid ovarian cancer or boost their survival should it develop, two new studies suggest.

Discovery of kidney cancer driver could lead to new treatment strategy

July 19, 2018
University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center scientists have uncovered a potential therapeutic target for kidney cancers that have a common genetic change. Scientists have known this genetic change ...

High fruit and vegetable consumption may reduce risk of breast cancer, especially aggressive tumors

July 19, 2018
Women who eat a high amount of fruits and vegetables each day may have a lower risk of breast cancer, especially of aggressive tumors, than those who eat fewer fruits and vegetables, according to a new study led by researchers ...

Sunscreen reduces melanoma risk by 40 per cent in young people

July 19, 2018
A world-first study led by University of Sydney has found that Australians aged 18-40 years who were regular users of sunscreen in childhood reduced their risk of developing melanoma by 40 percent, compared to those who rarely ...

Analysis of prostate tumors reveals clues to cancer's aggressiveness

July 19, 2018
Using genetic sequencing, scientists have revealed the complete DNA makeup of more than 100 aggressive prostate tumors, pinpointing important genetic errors these deadly tumors have in common. The study lays the foundation ...

Complementary medicine for cancer can decrease survival

July 19, 2018
People who received complementary therapy for curable cancers were more likely to refuse at least one component of their conventional cancer treatment, and were more likely to die as a result, according to researchers from ...

0 comments

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.