Infections in the immunopathogenesis of chronic inflammatory bowel disease.
Merger M. Croitoru K.
Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
In chronic inflammatory bowel disease, self-destructive, exaggerated inflammation seems to occur in the absence of a well defined pathogen. However, epidemiological data strongly suggests that development of disease does not depend on endogenous factors alone. In this review, we summarize how a possible role for microbial factors can be reconciled with the current understanding of etiology and pathogenesis of IBD. The data presented does not support that IBD is an infectious disease nor that it is a self-antigen-specific autoimmune disease, however, recent findings increasingly suggest that tissue damage might be caused by a non-specific autoaggressive inflammation which is driven by common, ubiquitous microbial agents derived from the bacterial flora in the intestinal lumen.