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Wound-healing role for microRNAs in colon offer new insight to inflammatory bowel diseases
Date:5/23/2014

DALLAS May 23, 2014 A microRNA cluster believed to be important for suppressing colon cancer has been found to play a critical role in wound healing in the intestine, UT Southwestern cancer researchers have found.

The findings, first discovered in mice and later reproduced in human cells, could provide a fresh avenue for investigating chronic digestive diseases and for potentially repairing damage in these and other disease or injury settings.

"We identified a novel role for microRNAs in regulating wound healing in the intestine. This finding has important implications for diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease and may be relevant to wound healing mechanisms in other tissues," said Dr. Joshua Mendell, CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research, Professor of Molecular Biology, and member of the UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center.

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease the two most common inflammatory bowel diseases affecting an estimated 1.5 million in the U.S. stem from an abnormal immune response, which results in the body mistakenly attacking cells in the intestine. The resulting chronic injury to the colon also is considered a risk factor for colon cancer. Understanding the cellular pathways involved could eventually lead to potential therapeutic treatments.

MicroRNAs serve as brakes that help regulate how much of a protein is made, which, in turn, determines how cells respond to various stimuli. Approximately 500 to 1000 microRNAs are encoded in the genomes
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Contact: Russell Rian
russell.rian@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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