Canadian Researchers from the University of Toronto have narrowed down a key protein which may be partially to blame for triggering Crohn’s Disease.
The proteins in question are known as “nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain proteins” or NOD for short. The study looked specifically at the NOD2 gene which acts as a sort of “bacterial sensor” for the gut. It helps the immune system respond to threats by sending out signaling molecules(cytokines) which trigger an inflammatory response. The cytokines seen in this study are Interleukin(IL) 17 & IL-22. Interleukin 23 has also been linked to Crohn’s Disease. The research suggests that the NOD2 gene miscommunicates with IL-17 & IL-22 impeding the bodies ability to fight off bacterial infection.
“We have highlighted the role the interaction between NOD and IL-17 plays in the functioning of the natural intestinal defense, and it suggests that focusing on this pathway may help prevent CD and inspire the development of new therapeutic interventions for the disease.” – Professor Stephen Girardin
Combing this information with info from other studies makes the picture look as though the immune system is going haywire, not releasing enough of some cytokines, while overproducing others causing destruction from bacterial invaders as well as from the body attacking itself.