About this project
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), encompassing Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), remains a chronic condition with an elusive aetiology. A notable concern is the potential development of severe complications, including bowel obstruction, fistula formation, and colorectal cancer, in a significant proportion of IBD patients. Currently, our ability to predict disease onset and progression, along with the emergence of complications, is limited. Therefore, identifying early markers and prognostic indicators for disease progression would significantly enhance the prospects of leading healthy, active, and independent lives well into old age.
Within this context, macrophages residing in the intestinal environment emerge as compelling subjects of investigation. These immune cells play essential roles in maintaining homeostasis and orchestrating immune responses. While gut macrophages typically exhibit an anti-inflammatory phenotype, their behaviour undergoes a notable shift in IBD. In this context, they secrete pro-inflammatory mediators that contribute to tissue damage, as well as actively participate in the development of fibrosis—an important complication associated with chronic CD.
This research aims to deepen our understanding of the largest population of macrophages in the body and shed light on their intricate involvement in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease, particularly during the fibrotic process. By unravelling the underlying mechanisms and dynamics of intestinal macrophages in IBD, we aspire to unravel novel insights into disease progression and identify potential therapeutic targets for managing fibrosis and its associated complications.