The Cd14 gene protected mice against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by bolstering their intestinal barrier against harmful micro-organisms and reducing their gut inflammation, according to a study. Increasing the gene's expression may be a way to treat IBD, the researchers added. Expression is the process by which information from a gene is used to create a functional product like a protein. The study, “CD14 Plays a Protective Role in Experimental Inflammatory Bowel Disease by Enhancing Intestinal Barrier Function,” was published in The American Journal of Pathology. Genetic factors contribute to IBD, a disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the gut. There is no cure for IBD. Current treatments only relieve symptoms, and many are expensive. To understand Cd14's role in the disease, researchers used a chemical agent to introduce IBD to both mice with the gene and mice who lacked the gene. Mice lacking the gene developed more severe gut inflammation than mice with the gene. In addition, the intestinal barrier of the mice without the gene was compromised, and the mice lost weight. Although Cd14 is found in many parts of the body, the highest concentrations are in an area of the intestine that contains the largest portion of the gut microbiome. The microbiome is a community of microorganisms that scientists are increasingly recognizing as important to our health and well-being. Studies have shown a link between higher levels of CD14 expression and inflammation. "Our understanding of the microbiome and its interaction with host genetic factors is increasing dramatically, especially in the pathogenesis of IBD," Dr. André Bleich, a professor at Germany's Hannover Medical School who was the study's lead author, said in a press release. "