Chicago—While inflammatory bowel disease
(IBD) has been studied and treated for decades, it remains mysterious in many
ways. Various complex factors keep researchers guessing why some individuals
develop Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis (the conditions that fall under
the label of IBD), while others are never afflicted.
But science is making headway, and researchers are beginning to paint
a picture of IBD that includes genetic susceptibility, an abnormal balance
between beneficial and pathogenic bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract,
defects in the integrity of the intestinal epithelium, and a disregulated
immune response of the host. It is now believed that a combination of these
factors is necessary for IBD to develop.
Hampton T. Scientists Explore Pathogenesis of IBD. JAMA. 2004;292(22):2708–2713. doi:10.1001/jama.292.22.2708