Irritable Bowel Syndrome Shares Genetic Markers With Psychiatric Disorders, study Shows

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Researchers from Norway have employed advanced statistical techniques to uncover a genetic connection between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and psychiatric disorders. Their analysis revealed a significant overlap in genetic variants between individuals suffering from IBS and those diagnosed with different psychiatric conditions.

IBS affects almost 105 of global population

IBS is a gastrointestinal condition affecting approximately 10% of the worldwide populace and presents with symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, irregular bowel movements, and diarrhea, significantly compromising one’s quality of life.

Post-Doctoral fellow Markos Tesfaye at the University of Bergen said that it is also regarded as a psychosomatic condition, given that physicians do not discover any pathological evidence during their examination of the intestines.

By conducting a thorough analysis of data derived from a comprehensive cohort comprising more than 50,000 individuals diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and a control group encompassing several hundred thousand subjects, investigators have unveiled 116 novel genomic risk positions, also known as loci, associated with IBS. A genomic locus denotes a specific point within the DNA sequence, frequently encompassing a cluster of genetic variants.

Additionally, this research has unveiled 70 distinct loci that exhibit overlap between IBS and various psychiatric disorders. Specifically, there were seven loci shared with generalized anxiety disorder, 27 with bipolar disorder, 15 with schizophrenia and 35 with major depression.

Genetic markers regulating nervous system associated with IBS

In a notable discovery, several genetic markers associated with IBS were identified to be involved in regulating the nervous system, according to Tesfaye. This finding broadens our knowledge of IBS genetics and its connections to gastrointestinal and psychiatric disorders. Tesfaye is hopeful that this discovery will encourage further experimental research aimed at developing more effective IBS treatments.

This research does not investigate the direct causation between gastrointestinal problems and psychiatric conditions. Tesfaye has pointed out that some scientists hypothesize that inflammation in the intestines could potentially compromise the integrity of the intestinal barrier, leading to the leakage of bacterial byproducts into the bloodstream. This, in turn, might influence the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, potentially affecting brain function. This avenue of investigation holds promise for future research endeavors.

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