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IBS, Psychiatric Disorders Have Shared Genetic Architecture

Irritable bowel syndrome has a shared genetic architecture with psychiatric disorders and, to a lesser degree, with gastrointestinal ones, a team from the University of Oslo has found. The researchers amassed genome-wide association study datasets for IBS as well as for generalized anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, diverticular disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. As they report in Genome Medicine, the researchers analyzed the genetic architecture and genetic overlap of these conditions to find that IBS is highly polygenic and uncovered 132 loci independently associated with IBS. They also uncovered 70 loci shared by IBS and psychiatric disorders that implicate not only the gut-brain axis in IBS but also other processes like intestinal development and bone and reproductive physiology. "Furthermore, the pattern of genetic correlations and shared genomic loci with psychiatric disorders support the underlying genetic heterogeneity of IBS subtypes," the researchers write in their paper. "These genetic discoveries provide a better understanding of the pathophysiology of IBS potentially forming the basis for the development of more effective interventions."