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Research Roundup: What Causes Crohn’s Disease?

Every week there are numerous scientific studies published. Here’s a look at some of the more interesting ones.

Every week there are numerous scientific studies published. Here’s a look at some of the more interesting ones.

New Insights into the Causes of Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the digestive tract, leading to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. The treatments tend to be powerful anti-inflammatories, such as Humira, or in severe cases, surgical removal of the part of the bowel that is affected. There appear to be a number of causes, but one indicator is an abnormal reaction of the immune system to some of the intestinal bacteria.

Researchers at the University of Plymouth in the UK have identified specific types of immune cells, macrophages, and specific types of macrophages that affect the inflammatory destruction of the gut. One type is pro-inflammatory, and the other type is anti-inflammatory, and they have very distinct molecular mechanisms that behave differently in the presence of bacteria.

“This small step in understanding of differential off-signaling of macrophage type may go hand-in-hand with understanding the relapsing/remitting presentation of Crohn’s disease,” stated Andrew Foey, study author. “It is suggestive of future research endeavors in targeting macrophage responses in the treatment of inflammatory diseases—and it’s a really positive step.”

Read on: Research Roundup: What Causes Crohn’s Disease?

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