Immunopathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of idiopathic, chronic and relapsing inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. Familial and epidemiological studies have stressed the involvement of genetic factors and have also shown the critical role of environmental factors such as sanitation and hygiene in the development of IBD. However, the molecular mechanisms of intestinal inflammation in IBD have long remained unknown. In recent years, the study of susceptibility genes involved in the detection of bacterial components and in the regulation of the host immune response has shed light onto the potential role of intestinal pathogens and gut flora in IBD immunobiology. This review presents current knowledge on intestinal epithelial barrier alterations and on dysfunction of mucosal innate and acquired immune responses in IBD. The data support the etiological hypothesis which argues that pathogenic intestinal bacteria and/or infectious agents initiate and perpetuate the inflammation of the gut through disruption of tolerance towards the commensal microbiota in an individual with genetic vulnerability.

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Immunopathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease