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Semin Immunol. 2006 Aug;18(4):244-53. Epub 2006 May 5.

Advances in the molecular dissection of inflammatory bowel disease.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Mount Sinai Hospital Samuel Lunenfeld and Toronto General Hospital Research Institutes, 600 University Avenue, Room 778D, Toronto, Ont., Canada M5G 1X5.


Recent advances in the field of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) genetics have enabled the definition and refinement of multiple IBD susceptibility loci and the identification of gene variants within such regions showing association with Crohn's disease (CD) and/or ulcerative colitis (UC). Most notable among the newly defined genetic determinants of IBD are specific variants in the CARD15 gene, which have been shown widely to influence both susceptibility and phenotype in CD. These genetic data have inspired intensive studies of CARD15 biologic functions and the information emerging from these analyses has already substantively enhanced understanding of the signaling pathways coupling bacterial pathogens to the host immune response. Genetic data implicating various other signaling effectors in IBD susceptibility have similarly focused attention on the molecular pathways driven or regulated by these proteins and the biochemical events linking effector/pathway dysfunction to intestinal inflammation and disease. In this review, progress in defining the genetic determinants of IBD is described with an emphasis on the impact of such knowledge on understanding of IBD molecular pathophysiology.

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