INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     7th June 2024        
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Context: Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute have found a major new cause of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

  • About: IBD refers to chronic inflammatory conditions of the digestive tract.
  • Types: Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease.
  • Causes: The exact cause of IBD is unknown, but IBD is the result of a weakened immune system. Possible causes are:

o The immune system responds incorrectly to environmental triggers, such as a virus or bacteria, which causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

o There also appears to be a genetic component. Someone with a family history of IBD is more likely to develop this inappropriate immune response.

  • Symptoms: Diarrhoea, fatigue, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, reduced appetite, and unintended weight loss.
  • Treatment:

o Treatment aims to control inflammation, relieve symptoms, and prevent complications.

o Medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressants, and biologics are commonly used.

o Lifestyle modifications including dietary changes, stress management, and regular exercise may help manage symptoms.

Finding a Major Cause

  • Identification of Active DNA Section: Researchers have pinpointed a segment of genetic code (DNA) exhibiting activity within macrophages.
  • Role of Macrophages: Macrophages, immune cells, are implicated in causing inflammation, particularly in individuals with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

o The identified DNA section serves as a significant regulator for macrophages' functioning.

  • ETS2 Gene: This DNA section enhances the expression of the ETS2 gene, pivotal in governing the release of inflammatory substances by macrophages.

o Presently, there are no pharmaceuticals exclusively designed to inhibit ETS2 activity.