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Semin Immunol. 2009 Jun;21(3):156-63. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2009.01.001. Epub 2009 Feb 23.

Endoplasmic reticulum stress in the intestinal epithelium and inflammatory bowel disease.

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Department of Medicine II (Gastroenterology and Hepatology), Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.


The unfolded protein response as a consequence of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress has recently been implicated as a novel mechanism that may lead to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Impairment of proper ER stress resolution in highly secretory Paneth and, to a lesser extent, goblet cells within the epithelium can primarily lead to intestinal inflammation. An inability to manage ER stress may not only be a primary originator of intestinal inflammation as exemplified by genetic polymorphisms in XBP1 that are associated with IBD but also a perpetuator of inflammation when ER stress is induced secondarily to inflammatory mediators or microbial factors. Furthermore, ER stress pathways may interact with other processes that lead to IBD, notably autophagy.

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