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Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011 Mar;8(3):152-68. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2011.3. Epub 2011 Feb 8.

The role of bacteria and pattern-recognition receptors in Crohn's disease.

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Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ES, UK.

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  • Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2011 May;8(5). doi:10.1038/nrgastro.2011.56.


Crohn's disease is widely regarded as a multifactorial disease, and evidence from human and animal studies suggests that bacteria have an instrumental role in its pathogenesis. Comparison of the intestinal microbiota of patients with Crohn's disease to that of healthy controls has revealed compositional changes. In most studies these changes are characterized by an increase in the abundance of Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria and a decrease in that of Firmicutes. In addition, a number of specific mucosa-associated bacteria have been postulated to have a role in Crohn's disease, including Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, adherent and invasive Escherichia coli, Campylobacter and Helicobacter species. The association between mutations in pattern-recognition receptors (Toll-like receptors and Nod-like receptors) and autophagy proteins and Crohn's disease provides further evidence to suggest that defective sensing and killing of bacteria may drive the onset of disease. In this Review, we present recent advances in understanding the role of bacteria and the contribution of pattern-recognition receptors and autophagy in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease.

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