Crohn's colon sample

A section of large intestine shows inflammation that is a hallmark of Crohn’s disease. Credit: Michael Bonert/CC BY-SA 3.0


One gene links two different diseases

A stretch of DNA is implicated in both Crohn’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

A gene associated with Parkinson’s disease might also have a role in a debilitating intestinal disorder.

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel condition that is particularly common in Ashkenazi Jewish populations. Inga Peter of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and her colleagues analysed gene sequences in more than 2,000 people with Crohn’s disease and 3,600 individuals without the condition, all of whom were of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.

The team found a link between Crohn’s disease and a particular DNA sequence in a gene called LRRK2. The variant DNA causes the LRRK2 protein to become more active than the typical protein — as does a Parkinson’s disease-associated variant in the same part of the protein.

The researchers say that the findings could help to explain the mechanism underlying the two seemingly unrelated diseases.