Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis

Inflammatory bowel diseases, including Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, are a group of chronic relapsing inflammatory disorders of the intestinal mucosa. Evidence – either from pre-clinical animal models or human studies – provide compelling support that intestinal microbes play a key role in the disease pathogenesis. It appears that intestinal microbes, which normally present as commensal microbiota, may trigger inflammation and perpetuate disease in genetically susceptible individuals.

A shift in the make-up of commensal flora

Also, there may be a shift in the make-up of the commensal flora to a non-physiologic composition that is more prone to disease (termed dysbiosis). Evidence supports that genetic susceptibility stems from one or more defects in mucosal immune functions, including microbe recognition, barrier function, intercellular communication and antimicrobial effector mechanisms.

Laboratory studies determine interesting agents

Numerous studies performed in the laboratory, using in vitro and animal models of colitis, may determine interesting therapeutic targets, such as PPARs receptors and more specifically, the PPARγ receptor, cannabinoid receptors and opioid receptors. Indeed, all these receptors are involved in the regulation of the inflammation. To evaluate the potential anti-inflammatory properties of compounds (natural or synthetic) or probiotics, we are using in vitro tools and in vivo animal models of colitis.