Korean J Med.  2009 Jun;76(6):643-648.

Pathophysiology of ulcerative colitis - Relationship with genetics and immunity

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Digestive Disease Research Institute, Wonkwang University School of Medicine, Iksan, Korea.


The current paradigm holds that ulcerative colitis occurs in genetically predisposed individuals because of dysregulated immune responses against intraluminal bacterial antigens. Recently, numerous new genes have been identified as involved in the genetic susceptibility to ulcerative colitis, including IL-23R, MST1, IL-12B (p40), NKX2-3, and STAT3. Experimental studies of ulcerative colitis point to an excessive T-cell response to antigenic stimulus resulting in damage to host intestinal tissue. The T-cell response in ulcerative colitis appears to be TH2 dominant (IL-5, IL-13) and mediated by specialized cells, such as NK T-cells. The characterization of these novel genes and immunologic basis should lead to the identification of therapeutic agents and a better clinical assessment of phenotype and prognosis in patients with ulcerative colitis.


Ulcerative colitis; Genes; Immune response; T-cell; Genetic susceptibility
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