Oxidative stress and pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease: an epiphenomenon or the cause?

Dig Dis Sci. 2007 Sep;52(9):2015-21. doi: 10.1007/s10620-006-9622-2. Epub 2007 Apr 3.


Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are fairly common chronic inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. Although the exact etiology of IBD remains uncertain, dysfunctional immunoregulation of the gut is believed to be the main culprit. Amongst the immunoregulatory factors, reactive oxygen species are produced in abnormally high levels in IBD. Their destructive effects may contribute to the initiation and/or propagation of the disease. We provided an extensive overview on the evidences from animal and human literature linking oxidative stress to IBD and its activity. Moreover, the effects of antioxidant therapy on IBD patients in randomized, controlled trials were reviewed and the need for further studies elaborated. We also summarized the evidence in support for causality of oxidative stress in IBD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Colorimetry
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / etiology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Prognosis
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Superoxide Dismutase