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Differential Gene Expression in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Predictive molecular signature identified in colon biopsy specimens

FRIDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Colon biopsy specimens from patients with irritable bowel syndrome have differential expression of immune system genes and a predictive molecular signature, according to a report in the February issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Jeroen Aerssens, Ph.D., from Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development in Beerse, Belgium, and colleagues used microarrays to profile genes expressed in sigmoid colon mucosal biopsy specimens from 36 irritable bowel syndrome patients and 25 healthy control subjects.

The researchers found differential gene expression between samples from irritable bowel syndrome patients and healthy patients that suggested functional alterations of components of the host immune system response to microbial pathogens, particularly DKFZP564O0823, an uncharacterized gene. A 32-gene signature was developed using 75 percent of the biopsy specimens, which predicted irritable bowel syndrome in the remaining 25 percent of specimens with approximately 70 percent accuracy.

"Mucosal gene expression analysis shows there are relatively stable alterations in colonic mucosal immunity in irritable bowel syndrome," Aerssens and colleagues conclude. "These molecular alterations provide the basis to test the hypothesis that objective biomarkers may be identified in irritable bowel syndrome and enhance understanding of the disease."

The study was supported by Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, which employed several study authors when the study was performed.

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