Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gastrointestinal disorder that afflicts more than 20% of the population in the United States. Symptoms include mild to severe abdominal discomfort accompanied by a change in stool character and form ranging from constipation to diarrhea. Additionally, IBS is associated with secondary effects including depression, anxiety, poor quality of life, insomnia and sexual dysfunction. Despite the known association of secondary effects, patients are often tested for potential illnesses that share similar pathological symptoms. This process can be costly and protracted and yet not deliver a completely accurate diagnosis. The aim of this research is to identify gene expression-based biological signatures and unique biomarkers for the detection of IBS. Through the use of quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), comparison of pooled samples of non-IBS patient-derived RNA were used to identify differentially expressed genes in patients with IBS. Data obtained from preliminary DNA microarray analysis demonstrated a degree of success in differentiating between IBS and asymptomatic patients. Additional comprehensive DNA microarray analyses have led to the identification of a series of 858 differentially expressed genes, including genes associated with serotonin metabolism, which may characterize the IBS pathological state. The microarray results were screened using a combination of gene ontological analysis and qPCR. Real-time PCR revealed repressed levels of tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH1), an enzyme involved in the rate- limiting step in serotonin biosynthesis, in IBS patients relative to controls. Lower concentrations of serum 25(OH)D were also observed among the IBS cohort relative to asymptomatic patients, especially among IBS-D subtype. Vitamin D was shown to modulate differentially expressed genes in IBS patients, suggesting that IBS pathophysiology may involve vitamin D insufficiency and/or an irregularity in serotonin metabolism. Additional qPCR analysis of 32 differentially expressed genes in IBS patients identified 7 putative genetic biomarkers proposed for a potential IBS diagnostic panel. Based on the quality of these results, we may be able to develop, test, and market a diagnostic kit for IBS.
- Identification of Transcriptomic Biomarkers for use in Diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
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