More specifically, the researchers have zeroed in on a receptor and the accompanying protein as being responsible for increasing the risk of IBD. The identified receptor and protein are the Ron receptor tyrosine kinase and its partner hepatocyte growth factor-like protein (HGFL).
"We found that genetic loss of Ron led to aggressive inflammation and damage to the colon of models with IBD," said researcher Rishikesh Kulkarni, a postdoctoral fellow in UC's department of cancer biology. The researchers added that more research is needed to examine how these findings can be used to reduce the risk of IBD.
The study appears online in the American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology.