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Link Shown Between Crohn's Disease and Virus

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Waverunner, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

    Very interesting finding. When will we start to check patients for viral infections and when will we start to treat them?

    June 27, 2013 — A new study reveals that all children with Crohn's disease that were examined had a commonly occurring virus -- an enterovirus -- in their intestines. This link has previously not been shown for this chronic inflammatory intestinal disorder.

    The findings are being published in the latest issue of the international journal Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology.
    These findings need to be confirmed in larger studies, but they are important, as this connection has never been pointed out before. This paves the way for a better understanding of what might be involved in causing the disease, says Alkwin Wanders, one of the scientists behind the study at Uppsala University and Uppsala University Hospital.
    In Sweden several thousand adults live with Crohn's disease, and each year about 100 children and adolescents develop the disorder. The disease affects various parts of the gastrointestinal system and causes symptoms such as stomach aches, diarrhea, and weight loss -- in severe cases fistulas, or strictures in the intestines.
    The cause of Crohn's disease is not known. Mutations in more than 140 genes have been shown to be associated with the disorder, but this genetic connection is not a sufficient explanation. Many of these genes play key roles in the immune defence, which has prompted theories that the disease might be caused by impaired immune defence against various microorganisms. In that case, the disease would be a consequence of interplay between heredity and environment.
    Recent research has shown that some of the genes that are strongly linked to the disorder are important for the immune defence against a certain type of viruses that have their genetic material in the form of RNA, so-called RNA viruses. Using this as a point of departure, an interdisciplinary research team was established in Sweden to investigate what role this type of virus plays in the disease.
    The research team includes the paediatrician Niklas Nyström, the pathologist Alkwin Wanders, virus researchers Gun Frisk and Oskar Skog, the molecular biologist Mats Nilsson, and the geneticist Ulf Gyllensten at Uppsala University and Uppsala University Hospital, along with cell biologists Jonas Fuxe and Tove Berg the paediatrician Yigael Finkel at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.
    This unique composition, with complementary clinical and scientific expertise, has been extremely fruitful for our studies, says Alkwin Wanders.
    In the present study the researchers investigated whether the RNA virus were present in children with Crohn´s disease. They focused in particular on the prevalence of enteroviruses, a group of RNA viruses that are known to infect the intestinal mucous lining.
    The results showed significant amounts of enteroviruses in the intestines of all of the children with Crohn´s disease, whereas the control group had no or only minimal amounts of enteroviruses in their intestines. Similar results were obtained using two different methods. Enteroviruses were found not only in intestinal mucous linings but also in so-called nerve cell ganglia in deeper segments of the intestinal wall. Receptors for a group of enteroviruses were also found in both the intestinal mucous linings and nerve cell ganglia, which may explain how the virus can make its way into the nerve system in the intestine.
    Another interesting finding is that the enterovirus could be thought to be stored in nerve cells in the intestine and to spread to different parts of the intestine via nerve fibres. This would explain both the fact that the disease is periodic (comes and goes) and the fact that it often affects multiple segments of the intestines, says Alkwin Wanders.
    The present study comprises nine children with advanced Crohn's disease and fifteen children with incipient Crohn's disease symptoms. The research now wants to go on to examine larger groups of patients and more control individuals. They also want to pursue experimental research to investigate the link further.
    The study was funded by, among others, Uppsala County Council, the Swedish Society for Medical Research, Cancerfonden, Karolinska Institutet, and the Swedish Research Council.
  2. Bob


    England (south coast)
    Research paper:

    Human Enterovirus Species B in Ileocecal Crohn’s Disease
    Niklas Nyström et al.
    Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology (2013) 4, e38;
    Published online 27 June 2013

    "Positive staining for HEV-B [human enterovirus species B *] was detected both in the mucosa and in myenteric nerve ganglia in all ICD [ileocecal Crohn’s disease] patients, but in none of the volvulus patients. Expression of the cellular receptor for CBV [Coxsackie B virus], CAR, was detected in nerve cell ganglia."

    "The presence of CAR in myenteric nerve cell ganglia provides a possible route of entry for CBV into the enteric nervous system."

    *human enterovirus species B (HEV-B) includes subspecies Coxsackie B virus (CBV)
  3. Bob


    England (south coast)
    Very interesting, thanks Waverunner.

    It's very relevant for ME patients, of course, because of the theory that ME is caused by an enterovirus infection in the gut lining.

    I think the following section could relate to some recent ME research:
    "Another interesting finding is that the enterovirus could be thought to be stored in nerve cells in the intestine and to spread to different parts of the intestine via nerve fibres."
    See related ME research here:

    Perhaps the following section might relate to ME research in relation to nerve cell ganglia:
    "Enteroviruses were found not only in intestinal mucous linings but also in so-called nerve cell ganglia in deeper segments of the intestinal wall."
    Although the following article highlights Dorsal Root Ganglia, it equally discusses potential infection of 'peripheral ganglia', which can include the gut ganglia, as follows: "In 2009, a Medical Hypotheses Journal article by psychologist Judith Shapiro proposed that the primary site of infection in ME/CFS is not the central nervous system or white blood cells but the dorsal root and other peripheral ganglia.":
    Firestormm, Valentijn, Nielk and 2 others like this.
  4. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

    linking nicely to the vagus nerve infection hypothesis thread ...

    its esophageal branches control involuntary muscles in the esophagus, stomach, gallbladder, pancreas, and small intestine, stimulating peristalsis and gastrointestinal secretions.

    Firestormm and Waverunner like this.
  5. Nielk


    This is fascinating news. Especially for me since I have had Crohn's since I'm 15.
    Waverunner and Bob like this.
  6. snowathlete


    My mum had crohns when she was younger (before I was born).

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