Although the precise etiologies of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease) remain obscure, several reports have indicated that dysfunction of the mucosal immune system plays an important role in its pathogenesis. Recent progress with genome-wide association studies has identified many IBD susceptibility genes. In individuals with genetic risk, abnormal interactions between the host immune system and gut flora, and dysregulation of cellular responses such as autophagy and ER stress, induce an abnormal host immune response in the gut resulting in intestinal inflammation. Research progress animal models in IBD, and in human IBD, has identified several key molecules in IBD pathogenesis such as TNFα and adhesion molecules, and molecular targeting therapies based on these molecules have been developed. Here, we review immunological aspects in IBD pathogenesis and the development of immunoregulatory therapy.
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