CH Knowles, SA Gayther, M Scott, S Ramus, P Anand, NS Williams, BA Ponder
Dis Colon Rectum
PURPOSE: Idiopathic slow-transit constipation is a severe disorder of unknown cause. The onset in early childhood and history of constipation or Hirschsprung's disease in close family relatives suggest that slow-transit constipation could have a genetic basis. Several germline mutations have been described in Hirschsprung's disease, including mutations of RET and the gene encoding its ligand glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor. The aim of this study was to screen a panel of 16 cases of familial idiopathic slow-transit constipation, including 4 families in which there were relatives with Hirschsprung's disease, for RET and glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor mutations previously identified in Hirschsprung's disease. METHODS: Genomic DNA from 16 patients with slow-transit constipation and four relatives with Hirschsprung's disease was analyzed using single strand and heteroduplex conformation polymorphism analysis at two conditions and by direct DNA sequencing using the fluorescent dideoxy terminator method. RESULTS: Although common sequence polymorphisms were demonstrated with a frequency comparable with published data, no published or new mutation was seen in any of the exons of RET or glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor. CONCLUSIONS: Mutation of RET or glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor is not a frequent cause of idiopathic slow-transit constipation.