A Gut Feeling

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Science  14 Aug 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5942, pp. 795
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_795d

Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. The exact cause is unknown, but environmental and host genetic factors are known to be important. Jansson et al. have carried out a large-scale study of the gut microbiota and detected thousands of metabolites in fecal samples from sets of identical twins that were discordant for Crohn's disease using high-resolution ion cyclotron resonance–Fourier transform mass spectrometry. They identified metabolites that could differentiate between diseased and nondiseased individuals, including some from pathways involved in tyrosine metabolism, which is consistent with genetic polymorphisms that have been associated with Crohn's disease. The data from this metabolomic study could lead to the identification of biomarkers for disease diagnosis.

PLoS ONE 4, e6386 (2009).

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