New Animal Model Gives Researchers a Better Understanding of Crohn’s Disease

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crohnsdiseaseA new animal model, developed by Canada’s McMaster University, is giving scientists a different way to study Crohn’s disease. The clinical applications for the new model are varied, and all will hopefully guide researchers towards a better understanding and more effective treatments for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.

Adherent-invasive E. coli has been associated with human Crohn’s disease. Until now, animal models used in the study of IBD conditions like Crohn’s were very hard to obtain, because they were either genetically modified or needed the use of chemicals that caused the animals to die within two weeks – making them difficult for studying chronic conditions like Crohn’s. The new mice models address this issue because they carry the Crohn’s-related E. coli.

The research has proven that adherent-invasive E. coli causes inflammation in a mouse’s gut, similar to the inflammation caused in people suffering from Crohn’s disease. With the new mice models, scientists will be able to understand the role of chronic colonization by the E. coli of the host’s immune system, and how this relates to the future treatment of Crohn’s.

The clinical application of the E. coli to the new animal models means that, for the first time, researchers have a chronically ill mouse – one that they can study and fully comprehend. Being able to work with these animals in detail should prove to be particularly helpful, since little is currently known about the causes of Crohn’s disease.

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