The pathogenesis of Crohns disease (CD) has widely been regarded as the consequence of a dysregulated T-cell-mediated response to intestinal microbes, and the majority of the worldwide research effort has focused on characterizing and treating the chronic inflammatory phase of the disease. However, recent molecular biological and clinical investigations indicate that CD is actually a primary immunodeficiency. At first counter-intuitive, the apparent paradox of a pathogenic innate immune defect can be linked mechanistically to the granulomatous chronic inflammation characteristic of the disease. Genome-wide association studies have corroborated the involvement of innate immune dysfunction in the pathogenesis of CD, but less than 20% of the heritable risk is accounted for. By contrast, in vitro and in vivo stimulation of the immune system has highlighted novel areas of interest that may lead to the development of targeted therapeutic and diagnostic tools. © 2010 Expert Reviews Ltd.
- Crohns disease
- innate immunity