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Am J Gastroenterol. 2007 Dec;102(12):2820-31. Epub 2007 Sep 25.

The genetics of inflammatory bowel disease.

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Gastrointestinal Unit, Molecular Medicine Centre, Western General Hospital, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.


Great progress in the understanding of the molecular genetics of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been made over the last 10 years. Strong epidemiological evidence, based initially on concordance data in twin/family studies, led to the application of genome-wide linkage analysis involving multiply affected families and the identification of a number of susceptibility loci. Further characterization of the IBD1 locus on chromosome 16 led to the discovery of the NOD2/CARD15 gene as the first susceptibility gene in Crohn's disease for 2001. This landmark finding has led to a redirection of basic research in IBD with interest focused principally on regulation of the innate immune response and mucosal barrier function. Within the last year, the use of genome-wide association studies has provided new insights into primary pathogenetic mechanisms; several new genes such as the Interleukin-23 receptor (IL23R) and ATG16L1 (autophagy-related 16-like 1) genes are strongly implicated. Overall, these studies promise to change our fundamental understanding of IBD pathophysiology and to have implications for clinical practice.

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