Editors' ChoiceGENETICS

Of Genes and Gut Reactions

STKE  05 Dec 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 364, pp. tw412
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3642006tw412

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are thought to be caused by an inappropriate immune response to commensal intestinal bacteria. There is strong evidence that these disorders have a genetic component; for example, individuals carrying specific sequence variants of the NOD2/CARD15 gene are at increased risk. Now, in a genome-wide association study, Duerr et al. (published online 26 October; see the Perspective by Cardon) find that a rare sequence variant of the gene encoding the receptor for interleukin-23 (IL23R) significantly lowers an individual’s risk of developing IBDs. Interleukin-23 is a cytokine that has attracted increasing attention because of its role in a wide range of chronic inflammatory diseases in mouse models, including IBDs, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis.

R. H. Duerr, K. D. Taylor, S. R. Brant, J. D. Rioux, M. S. Silverberg, M. J. Daly, A. H. Steinhart, C. Abraham, M. Regueiro, A. Griffiths, T. Dassopoulos, A. Bitton, H. Yang, S. Targan, L. W. Datta, E. O. Kistner, L. P. Schumm, A. T. Lee, P. K. Gregersen, M. M. Barmada, J. I. Rotter, D. L. Nicolae, J. H. Cho, A genome-wide association study identifies IL23R as an inflammatory bowel disease gene. Science 314, 1461-1463 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]

L. R. Cardon, Delivering new disease genes. Science 314, 1403-1405 (2006). [Summary] [Full Text]