Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Enzyme Involved In Inflammatory Bowel Disease Discovered

Date:
June 3, 2009
Source:
Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine
Summary:
Researchers have discovered that the enzyme meprin has a key role in inflammatory bowel disease.

Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine, working with biochemists, geneticists and clinicians at the University of Bern, Switzerland and in the United Kingdom, have discovered an enzyme that has a key role in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The team, co-led by Judith Bond, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and Chair of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State College of Medicine, and Daniel Lottaz, Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at the University of Bern, Switzerland, could potentially lead to therapies to help the half-a-million Americans affected by ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, collectively referred to as IBD.

The enzyme, coded for by the MEP1A gene, is a zinc-containing metalloprotease called meprin, and is abundant in the intestine. A protease is an enzyme that breaks down proteins in the body.

Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine studied the role of meprin in IBD using genetically altered mice lacking the ability to produce the enzyme in collaboration with colleagues in Switzerland who studied the enzyme in IBD patients. Meprin is abundant in the latter part of the small intestine, or terminal ileum, and is also present in the large intestine at a lower level. The European researchers found an alteration in the meprin gene that correlated with IBD. They then compared the levels of meprin in affected and unaffected sections of colons from IBD patients and from healthy people. The amount of enzyme in the IBD patient's inflamed colon was significantly lower than that in normal colon sections. The researchers concluded that their findings strongly correlate the severity of inflammation associated with both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis with low meprin levels.

"This discovery is a major advance in understanding the genetic control of inflammation, and of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease in particular," Bond said. She discovered meprin more than 25 years ago while at the Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth University. Since then, she has studied the structure and activities of the meprins and has located the genes for the subunits in both the mouse and human chromosomes. After coming to Penn State Hershey in 1992, her studies have focused on the biomedical significance of the meprin proteases. With colleagues from the National Institutes of Health, she found a linkage between the meprin gene and vulnerability to diabetic nephropathy in Pima Indians in the southwestern United States.

"These types of transitional research that provide sound basic understanding of a disease process, coupled with detailed examination and critical interpretation of clinical findings, are dependent upon sustained collaborations based upon trust and respect," Bond said. Before this international effort, she teamed up with kidney specialists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and with W. Brian Reeves, M.D., at Penn State Hershey to demonstrate that meprin influences the outcome of acute renal failure in mice.

The Penn State researchers used a mouse model of IBD, replicating inflammation in the intestine like that in human ulcerative colitis. Mice lacking meprin had more severe intestinal damage after drinking a solution to induce inflammation, than did the wild-type mice that have meprin. These results indicate that meprin reduces the level of inflammation in the injured intestine.

In the mouse model, it is possible to make detailed measurements on a number of consequences of inflammation. Nitric oxide in the blood is an important host defense against bacterial infection, but its power as an oxidant also damages host tissue. A nitric oxide level in the blood of mice lacking meprin was much higher than the level in wild-type mice. The Penn State team also discovered that meprin is able to activate an inflammatory serum factor produced by white blood cells, and this factor is elevated in both the mouse model of IBD and in humans with active IBD. Bond explained, "The defect in the human meprin gene most associated with ulcerative colitis is in a region that regulates production of the meprin protein."

The researchers concluded that a particular defect in the MEP1A gene is an indicator of vulnerability to IBD, particularly ulcerative colitis. The association of the meprin gene with Crohn's disease remains to be characterized but disruption of the meprin gene affects the severity of both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Bond summarized the findings by saying, "There's the possibility of predicting who will be susceptible to IBD, and diagnosing the disease with this information. If we could increase meprin production, or replace it with an equivalent enzyme, there are therapeutic possibilities. More studies are needed to understand how meprin influences inflammation, but this is the first association of meprin levels as a key factor in the severity of IBD."

Other Penn State College of Medicine researchers include Sanjita Banerjee and Gail L. Matters, Ph.D., in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Leo Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., in the Department of Pharmacology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine. "Enzyme Involved In Inflammatory Bowel Disease Discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090602112305.htm>.
Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine. (2009, June 3). Enzyme Involved In Inflammatory Bowel Disease Discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090602112305.htm
Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine. "Enzyme Involved In Inflammatory Bowel Disease Discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090602112305.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

CDC Issues New Ebola Guidelines for Health Workers

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up new guidelines for health workers taking care of patients infected with Ebola. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins