- Scientists discover a mutation in the hormone
receptor that prevents fibrosis.
- This could pave the way
for better drug targets
- Possible cure for Crohn's disease,
cirrhosis, chronic kidney disease and reversal of fibrosis in aging.
Scientists have discovered a mutation that
could prevent fibrosis, which could be a revelation in the treatment of Crohn's disease
. A team of University of British Columbia scientists
have stumbled upon a possible path to treating this dreaded condition that is
characterized by the thickening and scarring of connective tissue in the
intestine, called fibrosis.
An increased amount of fibrosis may interfere
with digestive processes and would require surgical intervention to improve the
condition. Fibrosis may re-occur even after surgery, with some Crohn's disease
patients requiring repetition of surgery.
‘Discovery of hormone receptor mutation critical in controlling fibrosis in Crohn’s disease.’
Mutation Preventing Fibrosis
The team of scientists discovered a mutation
in mice that prevented the development of fibrosis. The mutation was found to
silence a hormone receptor which was responsible for the stimulation of the
When the mice were infected with a type of
Salmonella that mimicked the symptom of Crohn's disease, the mutation prevented
the development of fibrosis, thereby indicating its relevance in controlling
symptoms for Crohn's disease.
Co-author Dr. Kelly McNagny who is the
co-director of Biomedical Research Centre at University of British Columbia
(BRC) says about the discovery "We found what we think are the inflammatory
cells that drive fibrosis. The gene that was defective in those cells is a
hormone receptor, and there are drugs available that may be able to block that
hormone receptor in normal cells and prevent fibrotic disease."
Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory
disease of the gastro-intestinal tract.
- It affects 700,000 Americans.
- It occurs in
people of every age, especially between 15 to 35
- Hereditary and genetic factors along with
environmental complications are implicated in Crohn's disease.
- 5-20% of affected individuals have a first degree
relationship with another affected individual.
Crohn's disease could lead to thickening of
the intestinal walls, fibrosis, thickening of the bowel wall and sometimes even
lead to tears or fissures in the anus. This can cause pain or bleeding when
stool is passed.
In severe cases of Crohn's disease, it could
result in the development of fistula which is the tunnel that connects one loop
of the intestine with another or connects the intestine with the bladder, skin
or the vagina. This situation would require immediate medical intervention.
Crohn's disease is a chronic condition and
there is no cure for the disease, the condition may require surgical
intervention to reduce fibrosis and to restore digestive processes for some
individuals. Management of the disease is characterized by careful dietary
patterns and controlling stress.
Symptoms of Crohn's Disease
The symptoms of the disease include
- Pain in the abdomen
- Need to move bowels is
- Loss of
- Children may see delay in growth spurt and
- Delay in the normal menstrual cycle
The disease is found to be more common in
developed nations than in developing nations and noticed more often in urban
areas rather than in rural areas.
People with this disease may see a period of
flare up when the symptoms are very severe and then a period of remission when
the individual will seem fine.
Post Medical Care
- Up to 5 years after treatment, 50% of patients remain on
remission or on mild disease condition.
- A relapse free
year is noticed in nearly 45% of patients.
- There may be
one or two relapses in 35% of patients
- The disease may
remain chronically active in 11% of patients.
The severity of the disease, its effect on
the quality of life lead during flare ups and the absence of complete cure
necessitate increased research into the cause of this disease condition. The
current study by the researchers from the University of British Columbia offers
insights into the mechanism of the disease and could aid in generating new
targets for drug delivery.
Diseases that Include Fibrosis
There are a number of disease conditions that
trigger fibrosis and which can potentially receive support from this research
study. As McNagny concludes "We think that we can potentially block complications
of all these age-related fibrotic diseases by dampening these particular
inflammatory cell types."
Dr. Bernard Lo who is the lead author of the
study adds "Fibrosis is a response to chronic inflammation, but it is also
a process that occurs during normal aging. If you can reverse this, you've
essentially found a way to promote regeneration rather than degeneration."
The study increases the potential for
The team of researchers are currently working
on testing to see if they can reverse fibrosis in mice, which would pave the
way for a better treatment modality for patients with diseases that lead to
fibrosis. The control of age-related fibrosis that might be afforded by this
research could usher in a flurry of excitement in aging studies.
is Crohn's Disease? - (http://www.ccfa.org/what-are-crohns-and-colitis/what-is-crohns-disease/?referrer=https://www.google.co.in/)
- Facts about Inflammatory Bowel Diseases -
- Discovery offers hope for new Crohn's disease
treatment - (http://www.eurekalert.org/emb_releases/2016-09/uobc-doh083016.php)