Study Identifies Genetic Link Between Parkinson’s, Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease is an umbrella term for two illnesses: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. These illnesses are characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. On the other hand, Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative illness that affects an individual’s nervous system, causing issues with their movement by affecting body parts controlled by nerves.

One analysis that involved 12 million participants determined that patients with inflammatory bowel disease have a heightened risk of being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, especially after age 65. Furthermore, the use of anti-inflammatory medications such as TNF-alpha inhibitors is linked to a decline in Parkinson’s risk. These reports highlight the possibility that Parkinson’s and inflammatory bowel disease are both triggered in an unknown way by shared genes, inflammation — or both.

Now, new research has also found a genetic link between Parkinson’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease, which are both chronic inflammatory illnesses. Scientists suggest that both Parkinson’s and inflammatory bowel disease share common risk factors and progress via a common pathway, the leucine-rick repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene.

The LRRK2 gene is ideal for helping demonstrate links between the two illnesses, particularly since gene variants with heightened activity have been associated with increased risk for both Parkinson’s and Crohn’s disease.

For their research, the scientists focused on examining rare gene variants in individuals suffering from both of the above conditions. They utilized genomic data from a set of European patients who had both inflammatory bowel disease and Parkinson’s, as well as entire exomes from the United Kingdom Biobank and the BioMeBioBank.

Their objective was to determine how LRRK2 variants impacted the aforementioned conditions and their risk of comorbidity.

The scientists assessed correlation networks between high-impact rare variants in an effort to find new genes, determining that some LRRK2 variants were associated with the comorbidity of Parkinson’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease, namely N2081D and G2019S. In their report, the researchers explained that N2081D was associated with heightened risk for Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s while G2019S was linked to inflammatory bowel and Parkinson disease.

The scientists also identified variants with the potential to reduce or increase risk of comorbidity, including the P1542 variant, which was linked to a heightened risk for Parkinson’s and inflammatory bowel disease. An analysis conducted by the scientists also determined that both IL10RA and LRRK2 genes were linked to the aforementioned illnesses.

The scientists are now focused on better understanding the underlying pathogenesis and developing more effective treatment strategies. Their findings were published in “Genome Medicine.

For companies such as Clene Inc. (NASDAQ: CLNN) that are focused on addressing the unmet clinical needs of patients diagnosed with neurodegenerative illnesses, the study above shares valuable insights which could enrich the quest for better therapeutics.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Clene Inc. (NASDAQ: CLNN) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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