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Autophagy. 2011 Apr;7(4):355-74. doi: 10.4161/auto.7.2.13074. Epub 2011 Apr 1.

Crohn disease: a current perspective on genetics, autophagy and immunity.

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Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA.


Crohn disease (CD) is a chronic and debilitating inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. Prevalence in Western populations is 100-150/100,000 and somewhat higher in Ashkenazi Jews. Peak incidence is in early adult life, although any age can be affected and a majority of affected individuals progress to relapsing and chronic disease. Medical treatments rely significantly on empirical corticosteroid therapy and immunosuppression, and intestinal resectional surgery is frequently required. Thus, 80% of patients with CD come to surgery for refractory disease or complications. It is hoped that an improved understanding of pathogenic mechanisms, for example by studying the genetic basis of CD and other forms of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), will lead to improved therapies and possibly preventative strategies in individuals identified as being at risk.

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