Exploring IL-17A for Crohn’s Disease

Researchers are consistently looking for ways to deepen their understanding of various conditions, which not only helps with drug development but with patient outcomes. According to Medical XPress, a research team from the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University recently dove into the underlying nature of Crohn’s disease. The research explored the importance of bacterial balance within the gut microbiome; how cellular “crosstalk” is important to maintaining gut health; and how interleukin 17A (IL-17A) may help combat intestinal inflammation. 

Within their research article, published in Immunity, the researchers first detail the importance of a balanced gut microbiome. The gut microbiome, also called the gut microbiota, is the collection of bacteria, archaea, and eukarya within our digestive tract. Prior studies have highlighted how a regulated and balanced microbiome plays a role in our overall health. 

Next, researchers identified what role IL-17A could play in Crohn’s disease. Researchers determined that IL-17A helps regulate progenitor cell and Lgr5+ stem cell function. They then determined that cellular “crosstalk” influenced this function as well. For example, if IL-17A is unable to properly signal to secretory cells, pain and inflammation increase. Exploring this in organoid models highlighted how exactly IL-17A influences these cells, as well as how dysregulation worsens inflammation. Alternately, if IL-17A works in balance with the other cells, it could prevent or reduce inflammatory responses. 

Now that this dysregulation has been discovered, researchers can potentially look at IL-17A therapeutic solutions in the future. 

About Crohn’s Disease

Altogether, Crohn’s disease falls under the greater umbrella of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This chronic inflammatory condition causes digestive tract inflammation, most often in the ileum and colon. As inflammation spreads into deep layers of tissue, it can cause immense pain, which may be debilitating. 

Most people who develop Crohn’s disease symptoms are under 30 years old. Risk factors include Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, being Caucasian, having a family history of Crohn’s disease, smoking cigarettes, living in an urban area, and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Many patients vacillate between symptomatic periods and remission. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Bloody stool
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Appetite loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Anal pain or drainage
  • Skin, eye, bile duct, liver, and joint inflammation
  • Bowel obstruction (complication)
  • Malnutrition (complication)
  • Ulcers, fistulas, or anal fissures (complication)
Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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