A protein induced by gut microbes is vital in healing colons that have become inflamed due to a short-term form of colitis, Weill Cornell Medicine researchers discovered in a new study. However, they also found that this molecule, called TNF-like ligand 1A (TL1A) contributes to the sustained inflammation characterized by chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
In a study published Dec. 11 in Immunity, Dr. Randy Longman, an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and a researcher in the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Weill Cornell Medicine, and his colleagues investigated colitis in mice and humans to better understand how immune cells communicate to help heal the inner-most layer of the intestinal tract, called the mucosal barrier. Developing a better understanding of the molecular factors that contribute to IBD may one day help clinicians more accurately diagnose and treat patients, Dr. Longman said. About 1.6 million people in the United States have IBD, 907,000 of whom have ulcerative colitis. To read more, click here.