Blame Genetics for Your Inflammatory Diseases

A global study conducted by 50 different research centers has discovered hundreds of genes that cause five common, hard-to-treat inflammatory diseases

A global study conducted by 50 different research centers has discovered hundreds of genes that cause five common, hard-to-treat inflammatory diseases.

The findings, published in Nature Genetics by Matthew Brown, PhD, QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues, will likely pave the way for new treatments for these conditions.

Brown and team investigated nearly 86,000 subjects from 26 countries with ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s Disease (CD), ulcerative colitis (UC), psoriasis, and primary sclerosing cholangitis.

They identified 244 genetic variants, which control whether or not people develop these conditions.

Brown stated in a news release, “These diseases affect about 3% of the world’s population, and commonly occur together in families and in individuals. The big question has been whether this is due to shared environmental risk factors, or due to shared genes and now we believe we have the answer.”

The study results indicated that the reason nearly all of the diseases frequently occur together in individuals is a result of the different diseases sharing genetic risk factors, instead of one disease triggering the other.

“The discoveries have shed new light onto the causes of these diseases, such as identifying genetic risk variants which most likely work by affecting the bacteria present in the gut, in turn causing inflammation in joints, the liver, or the gut itself,” concluded Brown.