Comment: Researchers found that local intestinal inflammation induced DNA damage to lymphocytes of the peripheral blood circulating throughout the body. This means that chromosome damage was not limited to the intestine, but involved tissues of the body distant from the site of inflammation. The chromosome damage in the peripheral circulating blood could be used as a biomarker to identify those with intestinal inflammation before they show any symptoms or suffer any distress. In the study, the chromosome damage could be detected in the blood before the onset of colitis in the mouse models the team studied, which were engineered to develop the inflammatory disorder, the severity of the disease correlates with higher levels of chromosome damage in the blood. In principle this biomarker blood test could replace the invasive endoscopic exam and allow physicians to identify smouldering inflammatory disease before it becomes full blown.
Westbrook AM, Wei B, Braun J, Schiestl RH. Intestinal mucosal inflammation leads to systemic genotoxicity in mice. Cancer Res. 2009 Jun 1;69(11):4827-34. View Abstract