Recent Study Reveals Link Between Crohn Disease, Fatty Tissue in Gut

The researchers used a body composition analysis of patients with Crohn disease in a collaboration with gastroenterology and surgical specialists.

A new study led by the University of Limerick has found a direct link between fatty tissue and Crohn disease, suggesting for the first time that Crohn disease can be classified as a fatty intestine condition, according to the authors.

The researchers used a body composition analysis of patients with Crohn disease in a collaboration with gastroenterology and surgical specialists.

“People with Crohn’s disease incorporate fat into their body in a way that is different to people who do not have Crohn’s, and appear to preferentially lay down fat on the lower parts of their body rather than the abdomen,” said study lead professor Colum Dunne, foundation chair and director of Research at the UL School of Medicine, in a press release.

Dunne added that it was evident that in the abdominal areas in which the intestines are located, Crohn-related ulcers or lesions and inflammation are associated with higher depositions of fat.

“More simply, in that part of their body that has relatively less overall fat, disease shows up as linked with fatty tissue surrounding the gut,” Dunne said in the press release.

The current study was informed by prior research that focused on intestinal disease using novel approaches. Therefore, the authors said it was important that the new study brought together new knowledge of intestinal anatomy, biochemical signals, and expertise in body composition analysis, according to Dunne.

“We also found that patients with Crohn’s disease appear to incorporate fat into their bodies in a way that is not the same as people who do not have this illness,” Dunne said in a press release.

Dunne added that this emerging research provides a practical example of the real world implications of the university’s work in clinical care.

“There is a lot happening in this area at University of Limerick. Our research benefits from ability to look at clinical problems as part of interdisciplinary teams,” Dunne said. “For example, our approach in exploring inflammatory bowel disease has resulted in development of a new diagnostic test that differentiates Crohn’s disease from ulcerative colitis based on blood-borne biomarkers, and may enable monitoring of treatment without need for endoscopy.”

Dunne added that this type of innovation relies on team members who contribute diverse expertise, ranging from lab-based analysis to front-line clinical specialists.

“The close relationship between the University and hospitals in Limerick encourages that way of working,” Dunne said.

REFERENCE

University of Limerick study reveals link between Crohn’s disease and fatty tissue in the gut. University of Limerick. October 4, 2021. Accessed October 5, 2021. https://www.ul.ie/news-centre/news/university-limerick-study-reveals-link-between-crohn%E2%80%99s-disease-and-fatty-tissue-gut