Inflammatory bowel disease: Beyond the boundaries of the bowel

Giovanni Actis, Floriano Rosina, Ian Mackay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Dysregulated inflammation in the gut, designated clinically as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is manifested by the prototypic phenotypes of an Arthus-like reaction restricted to the mucosa of the colon, as in ulcerative colitis, or a transmural granulomatous reaction, as in Crohn s disease, or an indeterminate form of the two polar types. That the inflammation of IBD can trespass the boundaries of the bowel has long been known, with articular, ophthalmologic, cutaneous, hepatobiliary or other complications/associations - some autoimmune and others not - affecting significant numbers of patients with IBD. Also notable is the frequency of diagnosis of IBD-type diseases on a background of systemic, (mostly myelo-hematological) disorders, associated with alterations of either (or both) innate or adaptive arms of the immune response. Finally, cases of IBD are reported to occur as an adverse effect of TNF inhibitors. Bone marrow transplant has been proven to be the only curative measure for some of the above cases. Thus, in effect, the IBDs should now be regarded as a systemic, rather than bowel-localized, disease. Genome-wide association studies have been informative in consolidating the view of three phenotypes of IBD (ulcerative colitis, Crohn s disease and mixed) and, notably, are revealing that the onset of IBD can be linked to polymorphisms in regulatory miRNAs, or to nucleotide sequences coding for regulatory lymphokines and/or their receptors. At the effector level, we emphasize...
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401 - 410
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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