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J Mol Med (Berl). 2012 Jan;90(1):15-24. doi: 10.1007/s00109-011-0802-y. Epub 2011 Aug 23.

Nod2: a key regulator linking microbiota to intestinal mucosal immunity.

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  • 1Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Dana 1420A, 450 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


The human intestine harbors a large number of bacteria that are constantly interacting with the intestinal immune system, eliciting non-pathological basal level immune responses. Increasing evidence points to dysbiosis of microbiota in the intestine as an underlying factor in inflammatory bowel disease susceptibility. Loss-of-function mutations in NOD2 are among the stronger genetic factors linked to ileal Crohn's disease. Indeed, Nod2 is a key regulator of microbiota in the intestine, as microflora in the terminal ileum is dysregulated in Nod2-deficient mice. Nod2 is highly expressed in Paneth cells, which are responsible for the regulation of ileal microflora by anti-microbial compounds, and Nod2-deficient ileal intestinal epithelia are unable to kill bacteria efficiently. It is therefore likely that NOD2 mutations in Crohn's disease may increase disease susceptibility by altering interactions between ileal microbiota and mucosal immunity.

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