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Scientists identify Crohn's gene

A gene that puts people at risk of Crohn's disease has been identified by researchers.
The University of Toronto scientists say the discovery will lead to better diagnosis and treatment of the inflammatory bowel condition.
The gene produces a protein that functions improperly in patients with the disease.
Doctors said several genes had been linked to the disease though the latest breakthrough could prove helpful.
Full article:
BBC News

Scientists crack immune system secret

Scientists have made a discovery about the immune system which they hope could lead to new treatments for a range of conditions They have discovered the mechanism by which the body attempts to maintain numbers of a vital type of immune system cell at healthy levels.
The work was carried out on patients with HIV, but could also have important implications for other people - for instance cancer patients - whose immune system is weakened or destroyed.
Full article:
BBC News

Sex stratification of an inflammatory bowel disease genome search shows male-specific linkage to the HLA region of chromosome 6

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a multifactorial disorder, with both genetic and environmental factors contributing to the two clinical phenotypes of Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). The underlying genetic model is thought to involve multiple genes with complex interactions between disease loci, and the NOD2 gene on chromosome 16 has recently been identified as a CD susceptibility locus. Several genome-wide linkage studies have identified candidate regions, but there has been little replication across studies. Here we investigate the role of sex-specific loci in susceptibility to IBD. Linkage data from our previously reported genome search and follow-up study were stratified by the sex of the affected sib pair. Non-parametric linkage analysis was performed using Genehunter Plus. Simulation studies were used to assess the significance of differences in LOD scores between male and female families for each chromosome. Several regions of sex-specific linkage were identified, including existing and novel candidate loci. The major histocompatibility region on chromosome 6p, referred to as IBD3, showed evidence of male-specific linkage with a maximum LOD score of 5.9 in both CD and UC male-affected families. Regions on chromosomes 11, 14 and 18 showed strong evidence of linkage in male-affected families but not in female-affected families. No evidence of sex-specific linkage was found in the IBD1 or IBD2 candidate regions of chromosomes 16 and 12. The existence of sex-specific linkage is further evidence of the complex mechanisms involved in IBD and will facilitate future studies to identify susceptibility genes.
Dr. Richard H. Duerr and colleagues (University of Pittsburgh) have found evidence that there is an Ulcerative Colitis susceptibility gene on chromosome 12. This research confirms the findings of a British study from 1996. The British study reported that Crohn's Disease is also linked to chromosome 12, but Dr. Duerr's study found evidence for a Crohn's disease gene on chromosome 12 only in Jewish families.

Dr. Duerr's team assembled a group of geneticists to search the human genome (the complete set of chromosomes) for regions that contain genes for Crohn's Disease. They have so far recruited 707 study subjects from 177 families with more than one member affected by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The search for other potential genes continues.

Dr. Duerr took his results on the road to the Workshop on IBD Genotyping at Oxford University in October. This workshop was attended by IBD genetics researchers from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia. The majority of research teams at this workshop reported evidence for IBD genes on chromosomes 12 and 16.

Dr. Duerr expresses great excitement for the work being done on the genetics of IBD. "This corroboration of data is unprecedented," he says. "We are well on our way to discovering the genes that predispose to IBD."
Information from
The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America

Tetracyclines Could Be an Overlooked Option for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Tetracyclines, especially minocycline, reduce disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to results of a metaanalysis published in the Journal of Rheumatology for October.
The researchers report that tetracyclines, when administered for at least 3 months, "were associated with a reduction in disease activity with no absolute increased risk of side effects compared to controls, but no statistically significant reduction in joint damage."
Full article