Etiopathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease: today and tomorrow

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Purpose of review

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, the two major forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), represent chronic diseases of unknown cause, and they are regarded as prototypical complex diseases. Despite all the recent advances, a complete appreciation of the pathogenesis of IBD is still limited. In this review, we present recent information contributing to a better understanding of mechanisms underlying IBD.

Recent findings

Here, we attempt to highlight novel environmental triggers, data on the gut microbiota, its interaction with the host, and the potential influence of diet and food components. We discuss recent findings on defective signaling pathways and the potential effects on the immune response, and we present new data on epigenetic changes, inflammasome, and damage-associated molecular patterns associated with IBD.


The continuing identification of several epigenetic, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic alterations in patients with IBD reflects the complex nature of the disease and suggests the need for innovative approaches such as systems biology for identifying novel relevant targets in IBD.

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