Researchers say they may have discovered a potential form of relief for patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
More than 1 million Americans are estimated to have ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease the two major forms of inflammatory bowel disease. The conditions, can be painful and debilitating, and can cause chronic inflammation of the digestive tracts. Patients with inflammatory bowel disease suffer bouts of watery diarrhea and abdominal pain and there is no known medical cure for either ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, although medications can help symptoms.
Recent research has shown that anti-inflammatory therapy has offered relief in mouse models of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis hence researchers explored how an immune system molecule called Toll-like receptor 9 could ease inflammation. Agents that activate Toll-like receptor 9, or TLR9, were given to two different groups of mice that appeared similar but were from different genetic strains. Reactions were different in the two strains of mice. The TLR9 activators inhibited the severity of experimental colitis but had no effect on the other group of mice.
To understand why the mice reacted differently, researchers used a variety of approaches to explore why one strain responded to therapy, and the other was resistant. They determined the TLR9-induced protection occurs when proteins called type 1 IFN-alpha and IFN-beta were activated. Thus researchers say based on their findings type 1 IFN-alpha and IFN-beta has a very important protective and potential therapeutic role .