Ulcerative colitis and colon cancer risk has been found to be linked to certain proteins and sugars produced by the body. Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4-alpha (HNF4-alpha) plays a role in both inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis and colon cancer. Transcription factors like HNF4-alpha promote DNA transcription into RNA, which is then translated into proteins essential for cell functioning. It is known that there are two major isoforms (variations) of HNF4-alpha, P1-HNF4-alpha and P2-HNF4-alpha (hereafter P1 and P2, respectively). What isn’t yet understood, however, is their distribution in the gut and their role in ulcerative colitis and colon cancer.

Researchers from the University of California, Riverside used mouse models to determine the distribution of P1 and P2 in the colon. They found that maintaining a balance between the two is crucial for reducing the risk of colon cancer and colitis.

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