A recent study looking at the the cytokine(signaling protein) IL-23(Interleukin 23), from Tongji University in Shanghai, China has found that those with Crohn’s Disease have higher levels of the IL-23 signaling protein in the inflamed mucosa lining of their bowel.The body uses various types of cytokines to communicate between cells within the body. IL-23 plays an important part in starting the inflammation process. This study doesn’t really explain why IL-23 is higher, but it at least adds to evidence that the bodies inflammation process may be overactive or it’s communication mechanism may be faulty. Interestingly, those with Ulcerative Colitis did not see as high a level of IL-23 as those specifically with Crohn’s Disease. This actually isn’t the first time IL-23 has been linked to Inflammatory Bowel Disease, studies and research on IL-23 have been going on for years.
The study concludes that “Anti-TNF(Tumor necrosis factors)” drugs may be of use for treating Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. “Tumor necrosis factors” are yet another group of cytokines. Their main purpose is to help cause cell destruction. Currently Anti-TNF drugs aren’t in wide use and their effectiveness for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases has yet to be established. You can read an interview with Dr. David A Schwartz on Anti-TNF drugs & Crohn’s Disease at Medscape. However it also appears there are risks associated with Anti-TNF drugs.