Immune dysfunction in inflammatory bowel disease

Transl Res. 2007 Apr;149(4):173-86. doi: 10.1016/j.trsl.2006.11.009.


Ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD) are idiopathic inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) that are characterized by chronic periods of exacerbation and remission. Research into the immunopathogenesis of IBD adds support to the theory that the disease results from a dysfunctional regulation of the immune system that leads to the polarization of intestinal immune cells toward a Th1 (T helper) response. The immunologic factors that mediate alterations in intestinal homeostasis and the development of intestinal mucosal inflammation have been at the forefront of IBD research. Cytokines, which are important regulators of leukocyte trafficking and apoptotic cell death, have emerged as essential immune molecules in the pathogenesis of IBD. In this study, recent advances in the understanding of the dynamism of cytokines and the consequences for mucosal immunity and inflammation in IBD are discussed. Furthermore, this study highlights the potential use of cytokines, anti-cytokine antibodies, and cytokine-related biologic therapies as novel targets for the treatment of IBD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiopathology*
  • Immunotherapy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy
  • Leukocytes


  • Cytokines