Scientists use clues in the human genome to discover new inflammatory syndrome
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have discovered a new inflammatory disorder called vacuoles, E1 enzyme, X-linked, autoinflammatory and somatic syndrome (VEXAS), which is caused by mutations in the UBA1 gene. VEXAS causes symptoms that included blood clots in veins, recurrent fevers, pulmonary abnormalities and vacuoles (unusual cavity-like structures) in myeloid cells. The scientists reported their findings in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Nearly 125 million people in the U.S. live with some form of a chronic inflammatory disease. Many of these diseases have overlapping symptoms, which often make it difficult for researchers to diagnose the specific inflammatory disease in a given patient.
Researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the NIH, and collaborators from other NIH Institutes took a unique approach to address this challenge. They studied the genome sequences from more than 2,500 individuals with undiagnosed inflammatory diseases, paying particular attention to a set of over 800 genes related to the process of ubiquitylation, which helps regulate both various protein functions inside a cell and the immune system overall. By doing so, they found a gene that is intricately linked to VEXAS, a disease which can be life-threatening. So far, 40 percent of VEXAS patients who the team studied have died, revealing the devastating consequences of the severe condition.
This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022