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New therapeutic targets in the treatment of ulcerative colitis
Date:11/13/2007

Social, environmental and dietary changes are associated with the changes of disease spectrum in a country. Ulcerative colitis has become a commonly seen disease in China, probably due to extensive consumption of Western foods in recent years. Unfortunately, the etiology and pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis have not been clarified yet. Therefore, no effective etiological treatment is available at present. But a recent study published in issue 44 of the World Journal of Gastroenterology may offer new insight into this difficult-to-treat disease.

A research team from the First Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University's Department of Gastroenterology, China, led by Professor Ying-De Wang, investigated the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) and tumor necrosis factor- (TNF-alpha). MMP-1 is a peptidase that degrades the extracellular matrix in the colonic mucosa, while TNF-alpha is an important and harmful inflammatory cytokine produced in macrophages in colon. The research team found that both MMP-1 and TNF-alpha were over expressed in the colonic mucosa of patients with ulcerative colitis. The over expressed MMP-1 excessively degrades the extracellular matrix, and subsequently damages the colonic mucosa and causes ulceration and inflammatory changes in ulcerative colitis, and the over expressed TNF-alpha directly damages the colon mucosa. MP-1 and TNF-alpha proteins have the so-called synergistic action. The study revealed that the excessively expressed TNF-alpha stimulated MMPs secreting cells to produce more MMP-1, aggravating the mucosa damage. Meanwhile, MMP-1 promoted secretion of TNF-alpha in a positive feedback manner to cause further injury in the mucosa of colon. So it is very likely both MMP-1 and TNF-alpha play a central role in the development of ulcerative colitis.

Because of the important functions of MMP-1 and TNF-alpha in the development of ulcerative colitis, they have become therapeutic targeting protei
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Contact: You-De Chang
y.d.chang@wjgnet.com
86-108-538-1892
World Journal of Gastroenterology
Source:Eurekalert

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