Is a predisposition to inflammatory bowel disease related to the expression of specific genes which affect immune cells?

Study code
NBR009 / CBR172

Lead researcher
Professor Mark Travis

Study type
Participant re-contact

Institution or company
University of Manchester

Researcher type
Academic

Speciality area
Gastroenterology

Recruitment Site
National

Summary

Crohn’s Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC) are diseases of bowel inflammation, collectively known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). They cause bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and weight loss, as well as other symptoms such as fatigue. Symptoms develop following an injury to the lining of the bowel wall. This injury is caused by an uncontrolled response of the immune system to an irritant within the bowel tube. Currently, the irritant responsible for triggering this abnormal immune response is believed to be the bacteria that normally live in the gut.  

We know that IBD is caused by the immune system not being regulated properly in affected individuals. However, the underlying causes that result in the immune system becoming overactive in IBD patients are poorly understood. It is known that immune cells produce many different molecules that keep immune responses in check. Therefore to understand the causes of IBD, it is important to understand how molecules and processes that regulate the immune system normally work in healthy volunteers without IBD, and how they are dysregulated during disease. This requires us to obtain and compare samples from volunteers with and without IBD.  

We wish to investigate factors responsible for bowel inflammation. Recent and on-going studies of bowel inflammation have identified previously unrecognised molecules which are now believed to be important in the development of inflammatory bowel disease. With your help, we wish to establish the role of these molecules in order to increase our understanding of IBD and identify new targets for future treatments. 

Our study has two main aims: 
1) We want to identify molecules important in IBD.
2) We want to see how changes in these molecules result in the development of IBD. 

These studies may eventually identify particular molecules that could be targeted for therapies in IBD patients.