An intestinal infection caused by strains of a common bacterium may be linked to the development of inflammatory bowel disease, a new study says.
French researchers report that a heightened immune interaction between Escherichia coli (E. Coli) and the cells lining the intestine, may result in the symptoms experienced by people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). They suggest their work indicates antibiotics might be a useful tool when treating IBD.
The findings appear in today’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
IBD refers to a group of conditions that cause inflammation of the intestinal tract. The group includes Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
Symptoms of these disorders include changes in bowel habits, particularly diarrhea, as well as abdominal pain, fever, joint pain and skin lesions.
IBD affects approximately 2 million Americans, with symptoms generally appearing in a person’s 20s or 30s. There is evidence that a predisposition to these conditions can be inherited, with the diseases being particularly common in people of eastern European and Jewish descent.