Detecting epigenetic signature may help people stay ahead of IBD
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IMAGE: This confocal microscopic image from researchers at Cincinnati Children’s shows epithelial cells lining the intestine of a mouse. They report in the journal JCI Insights finding an epigenetic signature in… view more 

Credit: Cincinnati Children’s

CINCINNATI – With an estimated 1.6 million people in the U.S. dealing with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), physicians can have a hard time telling which newly diagnosed patients have a high risk of severe inflammation or what therapies will be most effective. Now researchers report in the journal JCI Insights finding an epigenetic signature in patient cells that appears to predict inflammation risk in a serious type of IBD called Crohn’s disease.

Epigenetics is the study of external modifications to DNA and associated proteins that results in genes being switched “on” or “off” in cells. In the case of IBD, inflammation may be primed by microbes in the intestine that trigger epigenetics and make people prone to disease, according to researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

The study was performed in intestinal epithelial cells donated by newly diagnosed IBD patients prior to treatment and in laboratory mouse models. The work provides additional insight about the importance of the body’s microbiota–the collection of

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