Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), is chronic in nature and is characterized by abdominal pain, diarrhea, bleeding, and malabsorption. It is considered a complex multigenic and multifactorial disorder that results from disturbed interactions between the immune system and commensal bacteria of the gut. Recent work has demonstrated that IBD with an early-onset within the first months of life can be monogenic: mutations in IL-10 or its receptor lead to a loss of IL-10 function and cause severe intractable enterocolitis in infants and small children. Both IL-10 and IL-10 receptor deficiency can be successfully treated by hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
© 2011 New York Academy of Sciences.