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Faulty Gene Signaling Linked to Crohn's

Discovery might lead to treatments for digestive disorder

TUESDAY, Dec. 28, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Researchers have identified a faulty inflammatory signaling process that may lead to the development of Crohn's disease.

Further research on this signaling process may help scientists develop new ways to treat Crohn's, or even find ways to prevent it.

The researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, both in Boston, focused on a gene called NOD2. Activation of this gene influences regulation of the body's inflammatory responses. The researchers found that mutant forms of NOD2 fail to trigger an important inflammatory signaling process. This results in interruptions in inflammatory responses, which are believed to be responsible for flare-ups of Crohn's disease.

"The discovery of this faulty signaling process is a first step in helping us understand and ultimately address the underlying mechanism that causes Crohn's disease to develop. We hope that this first step will ultimately lead to the development of novel strategies to treat or prevent this disease from occurring," study lead author Dr. Derek W. Abbott, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, said in prepared statement.

Crohn's disease is a chronic disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal tract.

The study appears in the Dec. 29 issue of the journal Current Biology.

More information

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America has more about Crohn's disease.

SOURCE: Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, news release, Dec. 28, 2004
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