Inflammatory Agent in IBD, TNF-alpha, Found to Also Promote Healing in Colon

Inflammatory Agent in IBD, TNF-alpha, Found to Also Promote Healing in Colon
Researchers discovered that the molecule TNF-alpha has a dual role in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). While long known to promote the disease, TNF-alpha has also been found to promote key immune regulatory cells, called M cells. The study on the discovery, “Induction of Colonic M Cells during Intestinal Inflammation,” was published in The American Journal of Pathology. IBD is characterized by chronic inflammation of all or some of the digestive tract, caused by TNF-alpha, a proinflammatory cytokine produced by the body’s cells. Researchers in the School of Medicine, University of California, Riverside, however, discovered that TNF-alpha has a dual role — while it promotes inflammation, it also induces immune surveillance cells in the colon called M cells. “The induction of M cells by TNF-alpha suggests that the body may have a built-in system that promotes the inflammation as well as regulates and ultimately suppresses the response,” David Lo, a distinguished professor of biomedical sciences and study lead author, said in a press release. “If we don’t know what triggers the disease then the best we can do is treat the disease by suppressing inflammation. Currently, the main drug therapeutics being used to manage IBD are anti-inflammatory treatments. One of the newest is a series of biologicals — basically antibodies — that absorb the inflammatory molecules that promote the inflammatory response. There are half a dozen of these biologicals — speci
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