Animal models of inflammatory bowel disease: how useful are they really?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are idiopathic chronic relapsing disorders of the gastrointestinal tract of unknown origin, characterized by heterogeneity and a multifactorial nature of their pathogenesis. Despite the recent improved options for treatment, patients with IBD still have an impaired quality of life, and require hospitalization and surgery. This review examines the contribution of animal models to the understanding and treatment of IBD.

Recent findings

During the last decades, a large number of experimental models of intestinal inflammation have been developed. These models have proved to be helpful tools for obtaining new insights in the pathogenesis of the disease and for the preclinical evaluation of new therapies. However, even with the development of many new animal models in recent years, there are still limitations in the study of IBD because of lack of suitable animal models to cover all the requirements of basic research and preclinical studies.

Summary

There is a need for a better interpretation of the data we obtain from the study of IBD animal models, in order to better understand the underlying pathogenetic mechanisms and improve the quality of the preclinical studies, and to develop more appropriate models to cover the research requirements.

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