The Unknown Gene Behind Crohn’s Disease

The Unknown Gene Behind Crohn’s Disease

Researchers manage to discover new information each day about our bodies, health and many other factors. A recent discovery identifies a single gene as responsible behind Crohn’s disease. This gene is also responsible for Parkinson’s disease and if doctors identify it, then both diseases could be eliminated. There are variants of the gene and depending on which one the patient has, the risk for Crohn’s is increased or decreased.

More on Crohn’s disease

This severe inflammatory condition affects mainly the digestive system, as an autoimmune response, triggering painful and long term inflammation of the intestines and bowels. The inflammation of the tissue around the digestive system can lead to open sores and it seriously affects a person’s life. Doctors might even decide to remove the intestine is the tissue is thick and swollen.

The Study

With more than half a million American affected by Crohn’s disease, especially those of European and Ashkenazi Jewish decent, the study is a real breakthrough. This gene study was published in Science Translational Medicine and researchers studied the genomes of 5,700 Jewish subjects. Some of them had the disease and some did not and the idea was to understand how the combination of genetics and environmental factors work.

Results of the study

After analyzing the genomes, researchers discovered that the different mutations inside the gene can increase the risk of suffering Crohn’s disease. The gene is the LRRK2 gene and the “bad” version of it raises the risk with 70%. Those with the good variant of the gene have a 25% risk of developing Crohn’s disease. The LRRK2 gene is responsible for the elimination of the waste built up in a white blood cell (macrophage) and in some stem cells. These types of cells are found in the small intestine. The researchers concluded that the waste damages the cells and triggers inflammation.

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