Their results showed that elevated levels of anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies (ASCA; a GI inflammation marker) were associated with a 3.54.4-fold increased risk for bipolar disorder, irrespective of what medications were being taken. ASCA levels in the 264 bipolar disorder patients, 38 of whom had a recent onset of psychosis, were between 2.5 and 3.0 mean-normalized absorbance at 405 nm, compared with 1.0 in the 207 mentally healthy individuals. Moreover, ASCA levels in patients correlated strongly with immunoglobulin G against wheat gluten and bovine milk caseins. These associations were particularly strong in patients with bipolar disorder who also reported GI symptoms, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease. These findings support previous theories that compromised endothelial barriers in patients with bipolar disorder may allow exorphins, the by-products of gluten and casein digestion, to enter into systemic circulation and impact brain physiology through action at opioid receptors, the researchers, led by Emily Severance (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA), explain. However, the team also notes that as ASCA levels correlated with antibodies to food antigens in those with and without GI symptoms, there may be a nonspecific immune response occurring. To investigate this further, they looked at correlations between ASCA levels and non-food-related antigens, including measles and Toxoplasma gondii, and found significant correlations in patients with bipolar disorder, but only those with recent onset psychosis.
Potential New Drug for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
This is a disease modifying drug. In many cases of patients with ulcerative colitis, complete healing of the bowel was observed and maintained with continued use of vedolizumab. Vedolizumab is targeted to disease within the digestive tract so other areas of the body remain unaffected. It blocks immune system cells that release proteins called cytokines that trigger inflammation, causing tissue damage and diarrhea to move into the small intestine and colon. The targeted nature of the medication helps reduce troublesome side effects such as weight gain, nausea and headaches caused by other treatment options. Current treatments such as steroids and immunosuppressive medications broadly suppress the immune system, which can also put the patient at risk for infections. Inflammatory bowel disease causes severe ongoing bouts of illness that adversely affect a patients quality of life at home and work, said Sandborn. These latest findings will potentially lead to a new drug therapy that will improve a patients overall lifestyle. Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis are forms of inflammatory autoimmune diseases, impacting the small intestine and colon. Clinical symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, intestinal bleeding, fecal urgency and weight loss. Serious complications such as bowel obstruction, colon cancer, malnutrition and abscesses can also occur, resulting in hospitalization and the possible surgical removal of portions of the bowel and colon. Eight hundred and ninety five patients were part of the ulcerative colitis trial conducted in 34 countries, and 1,115 patients were part of the Crohns disease clinical trial conducted in 39 countries.