Inflammation is a normal body defense from potentially harmful invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and other microbes that could attack the human self.
This is accomplished by the immune system, which is subdivided into innate and adaptive (or acquired) branches. The immune system is composed of specializedeffector cells that sense and respond to foreign antigens and other molecular patterns not found in human tissues. Likewise, the immune system clears the body’s own cells that have become senescent or abnormal, such as cancer cells. Finally, normal host tissues occasionally become the subject of inappropriate immune attack, such as in autoimmune diseases or in settings where normal cells are harmed as innocent bystanders when the immune system mounts an inflammatory response to an invader.
We are seeing a progressive increase in the number of diseases and cases of inflammatory diseases such as asthma, Crohn´s, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and many others.
Inflammatory Bowel diseases – IBD
IBD are a group of diseases that may have a different origin, but they pretty much evolve and manifest in similar ways. In many cases it is almost impossible to be certain about the precise diagnosis between Crohn´s. Ulcerative colitis and indeterminate colitis, among many others.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic, relapsing, and remitting disease that involves transmural (affects full thickness of the bowel wall) inflammation of the intestine that can occur at any point along the length of the gastrointestinal tract, but most commonly is confined to the distal small intestine and colon. Patients with this condition suffer from changes in bowel habits, bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, weight loss, and malnutrition. Evidence is accumulating that the disease reflects a failure to down- regulate inflammatory responses to the normal gut commensal microbiota.
UC superficially affects the gut wall but the symptoms are very important. Diarrhea, bleeding, pain, defecation urgency, etc. This disease has in common with Crohn´s that the gut microbiota in profoundly affected.
IBD Key concepts
- IBD is a chronic disease.
- To date its origin is not known, nor how to cure them, traditional treatments aim at reducing “inflammation” via suppressing the normal body response to the permanent attack from bacteria, viruses and other external aggressions. IBD patients that are deeply immunosuppressed are at risk of secondary infections.
- IBD are similar to other chronic diseases like diabetes, that need to be medicated with insulin forever to control blood sugar levels. In IBD the control of the inflammation can lead to an almost normal life.
IBD traditional treatments have very small effectiveness are very risky. These powerful drugs attempt to control the inflammatory reaction of the body, affecting immunity, which is our natural defenses against viruses and bacteria normally would not attack us but with diminished defenses the patient is exposed to a great risk. Recently we began to develop different strategies influencing the other component of the equation: the intestinal bacteria.
The results achieved by modifying the bacteria composition are really good, the risks are very low, almost negligible and the possibility of controlling the inflammation is a reality.