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UCLA-led study identifies genetic factors involved in pediatric ulcerative colitis
Date:9/3/2014

ative colitis.

"We knew that interleukin 10 played a role," said Dr. Eunok Im, an assistant professor at Pusan National University's School of Pharmacy and the study's first author. "But recent clinical and experimental evidence indicated that in addition to this protein's crippled action, there may be other genetic factors at work causing early onset of this disease."

The team found that phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN), a protein that plays an important role in cell functions like growth and communication, might also work in concert with interleukin 10 in helping ulcerative colitis to develop.

Scientists also discovered that, among mice that do not have interleukin 10, the additional loss of the PTEN gene in the intestine caused extensive inflammation, severe colitis and colon cancer development at very early ages as early as one month after birth and that they develop symptoms and early-onset ulcerative colitis in much the same way that humans do.

As a result, according to researchers, those mice may be an invaluable tool for testing possible new treatments for ulcerative colitis.

The team also found that the loss of PTEN in the intestine disrupted antibacterial activity and altered the colon's bacterial diversity. There was a large increase in a specific group of bacteria called Bacteroides, which have the ability to trigger massive inflammatory responses that cause various inflammatory diseases.

Using both genetic and pharmacological interventions, the researchers inhibited the Bacteroides' ability to trigger inflammatory responses, which greatly reduced the occurrence of early-onset ulcerative colitis in the mice. The results could eventually point the way toward new approaches to treat or prevent ulcerative colitis in humans.

"Future study may help us better understand how this bacteria has the potential to elicit inflammation in the colon and explore the molecular mechanisms of how the bacteria imp
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Contact: Rachel Champeau
rchampeau@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2270
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert  

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