Mucosal Genes Encoding Clock, Inflammation and Their Mutual Regulators Are Disrupted in Pediatric Patients with Active Ulcerative Colitis

Sapir Labes, Oren Froy*, Yuval Tabach, Raanan Shamir, Dror S. Shouval, Yael Weintraub

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patients with active ulcerative colitis (UC) display a misalignment of the circadian clock, which plays a vital role in various immune functions. Our aim was to characterize the expression of clock and inflammation genes, and their mutual regulatory genes in treatment-naïve pediatric patients with UC. Using the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Transcriptome and Metatranscriptome Meta-Analysis (IBD TaMMA) platform and R algorithms, we analyzed rectal biopsy transcriptomic data from two cohorts (206 patients with UC vs. 20 healthy controls from the GSE-109142 study, and 43 patients with UC vs. 55 healthy controls from the GSE-117993 study). We compared gene expression levels and correlation of clock genes (BMAL1, CLOCK, PER1, PER2, CRY1, CRY2), inflammatory genes (IκB, IL10, NFκB1, NFκB2, IL6, TNFα) and their mutual regulatory genes (RORα, RORγ, REV-ERBα, PGC1α, PPARα, PPARγ, AMPK, SIRT1) in patients with active UC and healthy controls. The clock genes BMAL1, CLOCK, PER1 and CRY1 and the inflammatory genes IκB, IL10, NFκB1, NFκB2, IL6 and TNFα were significantly upregulated in patients with active UC. The genes encoding the mutual regulators RORα, RORγ, PGC1α, PPARα and PPARγ were significantly downregulated in patients with UC. A uniform pattern of gene expression was found in healthy controls compared to the highly variable expression pattern in patients with UC. Among the healthy controls, inflammatory genes were positively correlated with clock genes and they all showed reduced expression. The difference in gene expression levels was associated with disease severity and endoscopic score but not with histological score. In patients with active UC, clock gene disruption is associated with abnormal mucosal immune response. Disrupted expression of genes encoding clock, inflammation and their mutual regulators together may play a role in active UC.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1488
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 25 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the authors.


  • UC
  • circadian rhythms
  • clock gene expression
  • inflammation
  • mutual regulators


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