Mitochondrial DNA in IBD Patients A Potential Therapeutic Target, Study Suggests

Mitochondrial DNA in IBD Patients A Potential Therapeutic Target, Study Suggests
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have higher levels of inflammatory mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in the blood, which correlate with disease flare-ups and severity, a study reports. Researchers say these findings could lead to new treatments for IBD, which currently has no cure. The study, “Mitochondrial DNA Is a Pro-Inflammatory Damage-Associated Molecular Pattern Released During Active IBD,” appeared in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Mitochondria, which are responsible for the production of energy in cells, descend from an ancient type of bacteria. The mtDNA molecule shares significant similarities with modern bacteria, and is known for its role in several inflammatory diseases. In IBD patients, mtDNA is not properly recycled and disposed of after mitochondrial damage like it is in healthy people. Instead, it can leak from the gut into the bloodstream and cause inflammation. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh evaluated whether mtDNA is released from cells during IBD flare-ups. Between 2014 and 2015, they collected blood samples from 97 IBD patients — 67 with ulcerative colitis (UC) and 30 with Crohn’s disease (CS) — as well as 40 healthy people used as
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