Nav: Home

Genetic variants in patients with crohn's disease prevent 'good' gut bacteria from working

May 05, 2016

Los Angeles (May 5, 2016) -- A major type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may be caused in part by genetic variants that prevent beneficial bacteria in the gut from doing their job, according to a new study published today in the journal Science.

The multicenter study from several research institutions, including Cedars-Sinai, uncovered the protective role some bacteria can play in disease management.

"Bacteria historically have been regarded as an enemy of the body, but more recently we have been identifying bacterial types that seem to be beneficial to health, especially in the case of IBD," said Dermot McGovern, MD, PhD, FRCP(LON), director of Translational Medicine in the Cedars-Sinai F. Widjaja Foundation Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute. McGovern was a co-author of the Science article.

Investigators found that the beneficial effects of Bacteroides fragilis bacterium, one of billions of microscopic organisms that normally inhabit the human gastrointestinal system, were negatively impacted by variations in the ATG16L1 gene.

These genetic variations increase the risk of developing Crohn's disease, one of the two common forms of IBD. As a result, the bacteria were prevented from carrying out one of their critical functions: suppressing inflammation of the intestinal lining.

"This study is very important because it identifies a completely novel mechanism through which these genes may lead to an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease," said McGovern, director of the Precision Medicine Initiative at Cedars-Sinai.

IBD is a difficult disease to treat and affects more than 1.6 million people in the U.S.

Using mouse models and human specimens, this study focused on Crohn's disease. Patients with this condition suffer from inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, often resulting in severe abdominal pain and weight loss as well as symptoms outside the gut, including arthritis.

"Given the low percentage of IBD patients who respond to drugs directed at the immune system, these results could point the way to improving treatment by identifying patients who might best respond to manipulation of bacteria in their digestive tract," said study co-author Stephan R. Targan, MD, director of the F. Widjaja Foundation Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute.

The findings have implications for treating Crohn's disease as well as other immune disorders that share similar genetic variations.

"This study significantly advances the knowledge base for physicians treating patients with Crohn's disease. It also exemplifies the multidisciplinary endeavors under way at Cedars-Sinai to translate basic science discoveries to meaningful help for patients enduring the various challenges of inflammatory bowel disease," said Shlomo Melmed, MB, ChB executive vice president, Academic Affairs, and dean of the medical faculty at Cedars-Sinai.

Current therapies for IBD patients lead to remission in only about 30 percent of cases. Cedars-Sinai is at the forefront of research to pinpoint the role of genetics in the health of the digestive tract. This work is a critical step in developing specific therapies that can provide more effective and individualized treatments for patients.
No conflict of interest reported by Cedars-Sinai researchers.

Research at Cedars-Sinai that contributed to this study is supported by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under award numbers AI067068, DE023789-01, DK062413 and PO1DK046763, and the Cedars-Sinai F. Widjaja Foundation Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute. Project investigators are supported by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the European Union, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, the Feintech Family Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease and the Joshua L. and Lisa Z. Greer Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Genetics.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Related Bacteria Articles:

Bacteria might help other bacteria to tolerate antibiotics better
A new paper by the Dynamical Systems Biology lab at UPF shows that the response by bacteria to antibiotics may depend on other species of bacteria they live with, in such a way that some bacteria may make others more tolerant to antibiotics.
Two-faced bacteria
The gut microbiome, which is a collection of numerous beneficial bacteria species, is key to our overall well-being and good health.
Microcensus in bacteria
Bacillus subtilis can determine proportions of different groups within a mixed population.
Right beneath the skin we all have the same bacteria
In the dermis skin layer, the same bacteria are found across age and gender.
Bacteria must be 'stressed out' to divide
Bacterial cell division is controlled by both enzymatic activity and mechanical forces, which work together to control its timing and location, a new study from EPFL finds.
How bees live with bacteria
More than 90 percent of all bee species are not organized in colonies, but fight their way through life alone.
The bacteria building your baby
Australian researchers have laid to rest a longstanding controversy: is the womb sterile?
Hopping bacteria
Scientists have long known that key models of bacterial movement in real-world conditions are flawed.
Bacteria uses viral weapon against other bacteria
Bacterial cells use both a virus -- traditionally thought to be an enemy -- and a prehistoric viral protein to kill other bacteria that competes with it for food according to an international team of researchers who believe this has potential implications for future infectious disease treatment.
Drug diversity in bacteria
Bacteria produce a cocktail of various bioactive natural products in order to survive in hostile environments with competing (micro)organisms.
More Bacteria News and Bacteria Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at