21828 First-ever Link Between Intestinal Inflammation and Systemic Chromosome Damage - Celiac.com
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First-ever Link Between Intestinal Inflammation and Systemic Chromosome Damage

Celiac.com 06/12/2009 - In a medical first, researchers at UCLA have made a connection between intestinal inflammation and systemic chromosome damage in mice, a discovery that may pave the way for early identification and treatment of human inflammatory disorders, some of which raise the risk for various kinds of cancer, according a study published in Cancer Research.

Scientists discovered that local intestinal inflammation caused DNA damage to lymphocytes of the peripheral blood circulating throughout the body. So, contrary to conventional medical wisdom, chromosome damage is not limited to the immediate intestine, but involves body tissues far away from the actual inflammation. Their results showed single- and double-strand DNA breaks in the blood, and chromosome damage in peripheral blood indicating systemic genetic damage.

Inflammatory diseases have been linked to some lymphomas and abdominal, liver and colorectal cancers, said Robert Schiestl, lead author, and professor of pathology, radiation oncology and environmental health sciences and a Jonsson Cancer Center scientist.

Finding inflammation early – before any symptoms surface - and treating the associated causes quickly may prevent the damage that eventually triggers these cancers, he said. Before the study, researchers had no knowledge that "intestinal inflammation causes damage that can be found throughout the body,” said Schiestl, adding that this "may help explain how inflammation leads to these cancers.”

Intestinal inflammation can be caused by such maladies as Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and Celiac disease. Nearly 1.5 million Americans, and 2.2 million Europeans currently suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases and global incidence is on the rise, Schiestl said.

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The discovery opens up the possibility of using chromosome damage in the peripheral circulating blood as a biomarker to spot intestinal inflammation before any symptoms surface.

Researchers were able to detect chromosome damage in the blood of specially bred mice before the onset of colitis, said Aya Westbrook, a graduate student of the UCLA Molecular Toxicology Interdepartmental Program and the paper's first author. Westbrook added that disease severity correlated directly with higher levels of chromosome damage in the blood.

Chromosome damage, according to study author Dr. Jonathan Braun, professor and chairman of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UCLA, may be the “earliest detectable indicator” of intestinal inflammatory disease. Currently, the only way to diagnose patients with inflammatory bowel disease is through full endoscopic exam, which is both invasive and costly. In theory, Braun said, a biomarker blood test might replace the invasive endoscopic exam and allow physicians to identify early inflammatory disease before it develops fully.

Spotting disease and being able to ward it off early is one of the Holy Grails of all medicine. This breakthrough could “change the natural history of these diseases,” Braun said. For the first time, doctors might have a tool that can actually help spot inflammation, the earliest precursor to multiple kinds of cancer, at its earliest stages, long before any actual disease develops. This could lead to the prevention of tens of thousands of cancers.

UCLA researchers have launched a clinical trial to confirm their findings in humans, Schiestl said. They’re focusing on patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. They're hoping the discovery will permit them to test new strategies for treating smoldering disease, which we’ve never been able to identify before,” Schiestl said, adding that they might be able to assess new drugs for treating early inflammatory disease.

The research may also show why some patients with inflammatory disease develop cancers, while others endure chronic inflammation for decades, yet remain cancer-free. Researchers suspect that some unknown molecular mechanisms might work to protect some patients and not others. Finding such mechanisms might lead to tests for predicting which patients with intestinal inflammatory diseases are predisposed to cancer.

Cancer Research: June 1 2009, Volume 69, Issue 11 

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Dang! If I lived that close to Chicago, I would definitely go to the University of Chicago's celiac center even just to hang out with some celiacs or celiac-savvy folk! (Maybe visit Aunt Mary too....) Consider a second opinion. Some people spend more on their Friday night bar tab instead of paying for a second opinion (cash) if they went out-of-network (insurance). Your current GI must suspect something (e.g. parasite). Maybe he is hoping it will resolve on its own (frankly sometime this approach works), but that side pain for over a year is not normal. Keep advocating. ?

Cycling Lady, LMAO at IBeStumped! So true. Yes, he is trying the band aid approach it seems. That's probably the most frustrating thing of all. So yesterday I get a call back from his office and they say to stop taking the Viberzi and switch back to Imodium! I reminded them that Imodium didn't work, I had already used it 8 days with no changes. His assistant informed me that that is all he can recommend at this time until he sees me at my next appointment which is 5/24! I live near Chicago and I am about to make an appointment to go to the University of Chicago hospital which is the top celiac research hospital in the country. Hopefully they can give me better answers.

7Hi jen and welcome No-one can diagnose remotely via nterwe posts but if there was such a game as celiac / gluten sensitive bingo, I would be calling 'House!' having read your account above... Lots of things fit the pattern as I'm sure your lurking has revealed. It's a tricky condition to diagnose however so you may have a little wait before you join the coolest club in town and get your funky celiac membership card For now it's really important that you stay on gluten. Keep eating it as accurate testing requires it. Ask your doctor to check the boxes for celiac testing alongside your liver blood tests. There should be enough in your history to get this without hassle but if they're reluctant INSIST and don't be afraid to assert your reasonable suspicion and wish to clarify and exclude. A good liver specialis will be aware of the possible links so you should be ok. If not gt second opinion. Ask for a full celiac panel as there are variety of tests. Find further info here There's a lot to take in, but be positive, I think you are on the right track and if so, you could soon be feeling better than you ever thought possible!

Hello, I am in a job that I travel every 3rd week...It gets challenging becuase many times I am doing audits of warehouses and they dont even have a cafeteria. I usually bring gluten-free protein bars as a back up if I have to miss a meal and then eat when I get back to the hotel. Just a suggestion because they certainly fill me up....Have a safe trip...Kelly

Hello all, I'm a new member here but have lurked for a while. I'm looking for some advice regarding my medical history, possible symptoms of celiac and next steps. General info: female, low level smoker, drink alcohol, aged 32. I started having bad gastro issues when I was around 17. Since then I've consistently suffered from chronic diarrhoea, frequent discomfort in the tummy area, feelings of dehydration despite drinking at least eight glasses a day and frequent fatigue for no real reason. In 2008/9 I visited the doctor as my diarrhoea was having an effect on my studies at the time. The doctor tested me for allergies; eggs, fish, gluten and lactose and did a "standard" blood test. Everything came back fine except my liver results, which were elevated to double (I did not the see the results for myself so can't say which enzymes etc). I was told to drink less and take Imodium. The doctor implied that perhaps I was stressed and / or anxious and, still being young plus a student who regularly went out drinking, I accepted this advice and carried on with my life. I would here add that I am not an unusually stressed person - in fact, learning to deal with my unpredictable bowels has forced me to be quite a laid-back person! Fast forward to 2016. I had been living with my partner for two years by this point who had noticed my bowel habits and informed me that this was definitely not normal. He encouraged me to try out a gluten free diet since I was apprehensive about visiting a doctor only to be fobbed off with Imodium again. I did the diet as strictly as a newbie can for around two months before we set off travelling. During the diet I noticed that after a couple of weeks of extreme tiredness I felt quite a lot better - I kept a food journal at the time which showed that I almost immediately had diarrhoea once after eating an ice-cream, i felt bloated and unwell after an attempt to make oat muffins (maybe i didn't cook them very well though!) and I felt bloated and had diarrhoea after eating some fish fried in flour (We made a mistake in ordering them but I didn't want to complain). My partner also reported that my mood swings (which I admit can be a little unpredictable) were much better. Once we started travelling I gave up and ate what I was given as we were staying with friends etc much of the time. Toward the end of our trip I started to feel extremely tired, to the point of having to stay in for "rest" days, and my guts were very unhappy. I chalked it up to irregular eating patterns, too many beers and late nights in general. During the trip I also had an extreme hangover after drinking wheat beer. And, while of course I accept that any overindulgence can make you ill, I really felt that that level of hangover was quite out of the ordinary. Finally, I developed a strange lump under my armpit during this period. Now back at home, I decided to go to the doc and check out the odd lump under my armpit. The doctor was pretty confident that it was nothing to worry about cancer-wise but she ordered a battery of blood tests just to be sure. The lump is fine (good news) but the results showed elevated GGT, high-ish ALT and normal AST liver enzymes plus signs of dehydration in red bloods / higher (but not concerning) levels of white bloods. I'm scheduled to go back for another blood test to double-check liver function and discuss results - if it is again high she will send me for a ultrasound. Does this history chime with anyone here? I know that the correct course in basic health terms is to stop drinking for some time (easily done) and stop smoking forever (easy to say...) but I cannot help but think that something else is going on here. I will discuss this with my doctor and make clear that my bowel issues have not been resolved and that the initial IBS diagnosis wasn't based on any thorough testing so to speak. In the meantime - does anyone have any advice for me in times of avenues to research or experience of similar symptoms? Gluten remains in my diet but in all other respects it could be regarded as very healthy, I think anyway... (pescatarian, plenty of fruit and veg, little to no sugar on a daily basis, not much dairy to speak of...) Thanks in advance and sorry for bending everyone's' ear about this... I guess it's just taken a long time for me to admit I might be sick and I need some help. Jen