As reported in EurekAlert! by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, inflammatory bowel disease represents a major health challenge with an estimated 1.6 million people in the United States struggling with the condition. They note that physicians can have a hard time telling which newly diagnosed patients have a high risk of severe inflammation or what therapies will be most effective. Now researchers report in the journal JCI Insightsfinding an epigenetic signature in patient cells that appears to predict inflammation risk in a serious type of IBD called Crohn’s disease.
Epigenetics is the study of external modifications to DNA and associated proteins that results in genes being switched “on” or “off” in cells. In the case of IBD, inflammation may be primed by microbes in the intestine that trigger epigenetics and make people prone to disease, according to researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Theresa Alenghat, VMD, PhD