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Enterovirus may be a possible trigger for Chron’s disease

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Enterovirus may be a possible trigger for Chron’s disease

Latest research on Crohn’s disease points out some new findings regarding one possible trigger: it seems that this inflammatory bowel disease may be caused by an infection with enterovirus. The study results, which were published in the journal Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology emphasize that all children with Crohn’s disease who were investigated had enterovirus infection. Although other studies should be made in order to establish a clear correlation between enterovirus and Chron’s disease, however, this should be taken into account.  Alkwin Wanders, one of the scientists behind the study at Uppsala University and Uppsala University Hospital, said that these findings pave the way for a better understanding of this debilitating disease.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are rare, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases that affect an average 2-10/100 000 population, and the incidence is increasing. There have been numerous studies that have attempted to explain the cause of Crohn’s disease, such as smoking, diet (refined carbohydrates, lack of vitamins or fibers in the diet), birth control pills, etc., but researchers have not been able to establish clear correlations between these environmental factors and Crohn’s disease. However, an essential role in this disease is played by the immune system as it seems that the intestinal mucosal inflammation is caused by immune attack of antibodies against different antigens.

Chron's disease

Chron’s disease

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have similar symptoms, but there are some differences however because Crohn’s disease predominantly affects the terminal ileum, while ulcerative colitis affects especially the rectum. These symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, intestinal bleeding.

Latest research shows that RNA viruses may have a link with Crohn’s disease. This is why a team of researchers from Sweden wanted to find out which is the implication of these RNA viruses in the etiology of this inflammatory disease. In the present study the researchers investigated the prevalence of enteroviruses (which are RNA viruses) in children with Crohn’s disease. The results showed that among children with Crohn’s disease, the presence of enteroviruses was typical, while in the control group these viruses were not present or were present in insignificant amounts.

To increase the accuracy of the research, the investigators used two different methods. It was also found that enteroviruses were present not only in the mucosa but also in the nerve ganglia, which are located in the deeper layers of the intestine. This discovery has led researchers to think that a way of dissemination of enteroviruses is via nerve fibers. Wanders Alkwin pointed that this explains why the disease is intermittent and affects several segments of intestine.