DUOX2 variants associate with preclinical disturbances in microbiota-immune homeostasis and increased inflammatory bowel disease risk.

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Publication Date


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The Journal of clinical investigation


washington; seattle; isb; Gastroenterology; Genetic variation; Inflammatory bowel disease; Innate immunity


A primordial gut-epithelial innate defense response is the release of hydrogen peroxide by dual NADPH oxidase (DUOX). In inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a condition characterized by an imbalanced gut microbiota-immune homeostasis, DUOX2 isoenzyme is the highest induced gene. Performing multi-omic analyses using 2,872 human participants of a wellness program, we detected a substantial burden of rare protein-altering DUOX2 gene variants of unknown physiologic significance (155 unique variants with allele frequency < 1%; 12.9% carrier rate). We identified a significant association between these rare loss-of-function variants and increased plasma levels of interleukin-17C (FDR=2.6e-5), which is induced also in mucosal biopsies of IBD patients. DUOX2 deficient mice replicated increased IL17C induction in the intestine, with outlier high Il17c expression linked to the mucosal expansion of specific Proteobacteria pathobionts. Integrated microbiota/host gene expression analyses in IBD patients corroborated IL17C as a marker for epithelial activation by gram-negative bacteria. Finally, the impact of DUOX2 variants on IL17C induction provided a rationale for variant stratification in case-control studies that substantiated DUOX2 as an IBD risk gene (pooled OR = 1.54 [95% CI 1.09-2.18]; P = 7.1e-4). Thus, our study identifies an association of deleterious DUOX2 variants with a preclinical hallmark of disturbed microbiota-immune homeostasis that appears to precede the manifestation of IBD.

Clinical Institute

Digestive Health




Institute for Systems Biology