Microbiome–Epigenome Interactions and the Environmental Origins of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

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Abstract

The incidence of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis, has risen alarmingly in the Western and developing world in recent decades. Epidemiologic (including monozygotic twin and migrant) studies highlight the substantial role of environment and nutrition in IBD etiology. Here we review the literature supporting the developmental and environmental origins hypothesis of IBD. We also provide a detailed exploration of how the human microbiome and epigenome (primarily through DNA methylation) may be important elements in the developmental origins of IBD in both children and adults.

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