Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Ulcerative Colitis likely caused by Immune deficiency

At the Harvard School of Public Health in the US, Experiments being carried out on mice have identified an immune deficiency as the most likely cause of ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a severe inflammatory disease of the colon and is similar to Chrones Disease. For the differences between Chrones Disease and Ulcerative colitis, take a look at my post on Chrones Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are they different?

This research also demonstrated that once mice had Ulcerative colitis, it could then be passed from mother to their offspring and even between adult animals. They also linked ulcerative colitis in mice to a deficiency of a molecule in the immune system, which would normally prevent harmful bacteria in the large intestine from breaking the bowel's protective lining and thus allow the damaging inflammation. A shortage of a protein called T-bet which usually regulates the harmful bacteria. This then allows the bacterial attack on the intestinal wall. This then causes the inflammation we know as ulcerative colitis that's identified by the open sores throughout the colon.

It is hoped that better understanding of Ulcerative Colitis will also lead to a better understanding of Chrones Disease and one day a possible cure.

The details of this study is posted on-line in the journal Cell. www.cell.com

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