Thursday, May 5, 2016

Crohn's genes make cells deaf to messages from beneficial gut bacteria

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract.  Crohn's mainly affects the ileum of bowel and the start of the colon.  In addition, Crohn's disease can impact any part of the gastrointestinal tract.  An individual with Crohn's disease typically suffers an enlarged intestinal tract.  Currently, Crohn's disease is thought to be a genetic disease that is affected by environmental factors like stress and diet.  It tends to affect people with European backgrounds.

Recent studies suggest that beneficial bacteria might have no effect in patients with Crohn's.  Defective genes block microbial messages to immune cells that would normally prohibit damage to the intestinal tract.  Patients with Crohn's disease actually experience an increased immune response, causing chronic inflammation.  The inflammation is linked to approximately 200 genes, including ATG16L1 and NOD2.  Mice with these defective genes are unable to effectively utilize good bacteria to reduce gastrointestinal inflammation.  Luckily, some genes are responsible for killing bad bacteria also work to suppress the immune system when necessary.  So, this prevents Crohn's disease from going out of control.

Crohn's disease is clearly a detrimental disease, but research does offer some silver linings.  If there are genes that can suppress the immune system efficiently, it seems as though there are potential ways to reduce Crohn's effects.  It is also possible that the same genes could be used for other gastrointestinal diseases like ulcers.


  1. It is interesting how 200 genes cause this disease, hopefully locating these genes will be a significant step in curing Crohns Disease.

  2. I wonder how closely related this could be to Ulcerative Colitis as I always grouped those two things together.

  3. I wonder if their any other diseases that can be linked to genes. Because I honestly would of never known chrons could of been linked to genetics.

  4. If Crohn's patients do not have bacteria to facilitate nutrient extraction, would adding more bacteria help or be useless based on this article?