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Gastroenterology. 2011 Jun;140(7):1934-42. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2011.02.063. Epub 2011 Mar 9.

A Klothoβ variant mediates protein stability and associates with colon transit in irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Health Sciences Research, College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.



Bile acid (BA) malabsorption of moderate severity is reported in 32% of patients with chronic unexplained diarrhea, including diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D). We hypothesized that variants of genes regulating hepatic BA synthesis play a role in IBS-D.


In 435 IBS and 279 healthy subjects, we tested individual associations of 15 common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 7 genes critical to BA homeostasis with symptom-based subgroups using dominant genetic models. In a subset of 238 participants, we tested association with colonic transit. SNP-SNP interactions were investigated based on known protein interactions in BA homeostasis. The function of SNP rs17618244 in Klothoβ (KLB) was evaluated using a protein stability assay in HEK293 cells.


SNP rs17618244 (Arg728Gln in KLB) is associated with colonic transit at 24 hours. G allele (Arg728) compared with A allele (Gln728) is associated with accelerated colonic transit (P=.0007) in the overall cohort; this association was restricted to IBS-D (P=.0018). Interaction tests of KLB rs17618244 with 3 nonsynonymous SNPs of fibroblast growth factor receptor 4 (FGFR4) revealed that rs1966265 (Val10Ile) and rs351855 (Gly388Arg) modulate rs1768244's association with colonic transit in IBS-D (P=.0025 and P=.0023, respectively). KLB Arg728 significantly reduced protein stability compared with KLB Gln728, demonstrating KLB rs17618244's functional significance. No significant associations with symptom-based subgroups of IBS were detected.


A functional KLB gene variant mediating protein stability associates with colonic transit in IBS-D. This association is modulated by 2 genetic variants in FGFR4. The FGF19-FGFR4-KLB pathway links regulation of BA synthesis to colonic transit in IBS-D.

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