Role of the Innate Immune System in the Pathogenesis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis are chronic inflammatory diseases of the intestinal tract commonly denoted as inflammatory bowel diseases. It has been proposed that these diseases result from aberrant mucosal immune responses to nonpathogenic microbial residents of the intestines. Recently, it was established that continuous interactions between the innate and the adaptive intestinal immune cells and the microbiota are directly involved in maintaining the physiological noninflammatory state of the intestinal mucosa. In light of the complexity of this mucosal homeostasis, it is astonishing that the inflammatory bowel diseases are relatively rare. Recently, altered functions of the innate immune system have been identified. As such, both hyperresponsiveness and hyporesponsiveness of innate cells have been implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases.

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