Targeted Gene Panel Sequencing for Early-onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Chronic Diarrhea

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In contrast to adult-onset inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), where many genetic loci have been shown to be involved in complex disease etiology, early-onset IBD (eoIBD) and associated syndromes can sometimes present as monogenic conditions. As a result, the clinical phenotype and ideal disease management in these patients often differ from those in adult-onset IBD. However, due to high costs and the complexity of data analysis, high-throughput screening for genetic causes has not yet become a standard part of the diagnostic work-up of eoIBD patients.


We selected 28 genes of interest associated with monogenic IBD and performed targeted panel sequencing in 71 patients diagnosed with eoIBD or early-onset chronic diarrhea to detect causative variants. We compared these results to whole-exome sequencing (WES) data available for 25 of these patients.


Target coverage was significantly higher in the targeted gene panel approach compared with WES, whereas the cost of the panel was considerably lower (approximately 25% of WES). Disease-causing variants affecting protein function were identified in 5 patients (7%), located in genes of the IL10 signaling pathway (3), WAS (1), and DKC1 (1). The functional effects of 8 candidate variants in 5 additional patients (7%) are under further investigation. WES did not identify additional causative mutations in 25 patients.


Targeted gene panel sequencing is a fast and effective screening method for monogenic causes of eoIBD that should be routinely established in national referral centers.

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