UC San Diego Logo Treating human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may now become simpler, thanks to the following article. Experts from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine claim that the IL-1 signaling pathway in the human innate immune system is involved with IBD. The research also puts forth probable new treatments for tackling this ailment.

Signaling by the interleukin 1 receptor (IL-1R) seems to regulate expression of a protein called DUBA (deubquitinase A). This protein in turn appears to affect production of anti-inflammatory cytokines reacting with certain bacterial stimuli. While cytokines are molecules that cause an immune system response to infections and cancer, some may trigger inflammation and others suppress it. Scientists believe that IL-1R is extremely important for generating key anti-inflammatory cytokines like IL-10 and type 1 interferon. However, genetic alterations, infection and some drugs seemingly disrupt the signaling process and either decline or raise cytokine production that upsets delicate balances. This disturbance in balances probably paves way for the disease.

Jose M. Gonzalez-Navajas, PhD, lead investigator and colleagues conducted experiments on laboratory mice that were lacking the IL-1R type signaling. The mice apparently developed fewer anti-inflammatory cytokines and were more susceptible to a condition very much like human IBD. It was pointed out the IL-1 may be a pro-inflammatory cytokine for various conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Currently available medications blocking IL-1 activity can supposedly be harmful for patients suffering from IBD.

The research is published in the December issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine.