Genetic link to Irritable Bowel Syndrome identified in women
Scientists have identified certain DNA variants in women that increase their risk of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), the most common gastrointestinal disorder.
More than 10 % of the population, women more than men, suffer from recurrent symptoms including abdominal pain, gas, diarrhoea and constipation, according to a study. The researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified DNA variants that are associated with increased risk of IBS, but only in women.
In the study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, researchers found DNA variants that are associated with an increased risk of a doctor’s diagnosis of IBS in women but not in men, specifically from a region on chromosome nine previously reported to also influence puberty timing in women (age at first menstruation).
“Although we cannot point to individual genes at this early stage, we believe these results are exciting, as they converge with existing data on female preponderance and a role of sex-hormones in IBS,” said Mauro D’Amato from Karolinska Institutet.
The researchers used genotype data from more than 300,000 participants in a genome-wide association study (GWAS). They followed up 2,045 patients from IBS expert centres in Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and the US.
The scientists observed further associations with constipation-predominant IBS as well as harder stools, again only in women.
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