Journal Article

The Role of Microbes in Crohn's Disease

Paul B. Eckburg and David A. Relman

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 44, issue 2, pages 256-262
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online January 2007 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
The Role of Microbes in Crohn's Disease

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Despite decades of research, the etiology of Crohn's disease (CD) remains unknown. Its pathogenesis may involve a complex interplay between host genetics, immune dysfunction, and microbial or environmental factors. Microorganisms, including pathogens and members of the indigenous microbiota, may initiate or propagate the inflammatory process in CD. The pathogenesis of CD has been difficult to study, owing to the broad spectrum of typically nonspecific clinical manifestations, the complexity of environmental and genetic factors, the lack of an accurate model of disease, and the limitations of microbiological methods. A more useful and relevant paradigm for the etiology of CD might be based on the idea of a pathogenic microbial community profile and might emphasize the role of interactive sets of microbes, rather than the role of individual organisms. We review how microbes may participate in the pathogenesis of CD and how they may inappropriately activate the mucosal immune system in genetically predisposed individuals.

Journal Article.  5508 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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