A team of researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, led by Inga Peter, has identified that Crohn's disease, (a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines) has been linked to five new genetic variants in Jewish people of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi Jews). These findings will help to better understand why the occurrence of Crohns is almost four times greater in Ashkenazi Jews than in other populations.
The study is published in PLoS Genetics.
Earlier investigations had discovered 71 genetic mutations of Crohn's disease risk in people of European ancestry. The researchers used DNA samples from 1,878 Ashkenazi Jews with crohns disease, and 4,469 Jews without Crohn's disease, in order to analyze their genetic make-up in this study. The team discovered 5 new genetic risk regions on chromosomes 2, 5, 8, 10, & 11 (specifically regions 2p15, 5q21.1, 8q21.11, 10q26.3, and 11q12.1), in addition to 12 of the known risk variants.
Dr. Peter, explained,"This is the largest study to date, & the first to discover the unique risk factors of Crohn's disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population. The prevalence of this disease is so much higher in Ashkenazi Jews, & the involvement of genetic variants predominant in this population might help to understand why that is."
In addition, the team of researchers assessed earlier findings in non-Jewish Europeans with crohns disease. They discovered that the genetic architecture of the 5 new variants linked to Crohn's disease risk in the Ashkenazi Jewish group was extensively less diverse than that of non-Jewish Europeans.
Dr. Peter, added,"Not only did we discover different risk factors for Ashkenazi Jews, but we found that some previously known risk factors are more potent to this population. Armed with this new information, we can begin to analyze the specific signals in order to pinpoint causal genetic mutations, discover why they are malfunctioning, & eventually develop novel treatment approaches."
Medical News Today
14 March 2012