Multiparameter Analysis of Immunogenetic Mechanisms in Clinical Diagnosis and Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Jonathan Braun and Stephan R. Targan
The integrity of the intestinal mucosa depends on a functional coordination of the epithelium, lumenal microorganisms, and the local immune system. The mammalian immune system is superbly organized for innate and adaptive recognition of microbial antigens,1,2 a defensive capacity that must be balanced against the tissue damage produced by immune activity to preserve normal intestinal function.3 Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is generally thought to reflect an impairment in this balance, due to a combination of host genetic traits that shift the balance of immune and epithelial function to commensal microbiota, and perhaps the composition or activity of certain microbial elements as well.
There has been much progress defining the fundamental disorders of these host traits, immunologic processes, and microbial targets in inflammatory bowel disease.4 Other fields of clinical and geologic microbiology are teaching us about the dynamic interaction of commensal bacteria with their host environment.5,6 These lines of investigation have revealed not only important insights about inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) pathogenesis, but also defined technologies and tools useful for its diagnosis and clinical management. This review focuses on these advances at the translational interface. We will first consider the innate anti-microbial response, centering on the utility of NOD2 genotyping for predicting disease susceptibility, prognosis, and therapeutic response profile. We will then turn to the adaptive anti-microbial response, focusing on the application of antibodies to fungal and bacterial species and products for Crohn’s disease (CD) diagnosis and prognosis, and immunogenetics of T cell immunosuppression management. Finally, we will describe autoimmune mechanisms in IBD, with particular attention to autoantibodies in IBD diagnosis and infliximab responsiveness. We will conclude with the concept of multiparameter analysis of patients, to refine patient characterization and stratification in diagnosis and clinical management.