Crohn's disease - New concepts of pathogenesis and current approaches to treatment

S. P. James, W. Strober, T. C. Quinn, S. H. Danovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


One theory of the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease is that rather than being caused by a unique environmental agent, it is the result of an abnormal immune response in the gastrointestinal tract. Recent studies indicate that Crohn's disease in its early stages is frequently associated with the presence of circulating antigen-non-specific suppressor T cells. Such T cells are also found in experimental inflammation caused by Chlamydia organisms in the gastrointestinal tract of nonhuman primates. Taken together, these data suggest that the suppressor T cells are markers of an underlying and persistent, antigen-specific immune response to an as yet unidentified antigen or set of antigens. We postulate that this underlying antigen-specific response is the result of a primary immunoregulatory abnormality involving an imbalance between the effects of antigen-specific helper and suppressor T cells which recognize a common antigen or antigens present in the mucosal environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1297-1310
Number of pages14
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 1987


  • Crohn's disease
  • abnormal immune response
  • antigen-specific helper
  • chlamydia
  • suppressor T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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