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Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) linking polymorphisms in ATG16L1 with susceptibility to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have prompted mucosal immunologists to investigate the functional roles of macroautophagy/autophagy in different cell types in the gut. Here we present a recent study that addressed 2 key questions: in which cell type is autophagy deficiency most detrimental during chronic colitis and what is the functional role of autophagy in those cells? We report that autophagy in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) acts to limit intestinal inflammation by protecting them from TNF-induced apoptosis and we discuss the potential implications for IBD treatment.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1460 - 1461


Apoptosis, Crohn's disease, autophagy, colitis, intestinal epithelial cell, ulcerative colitis, Animals, Apoptosis, Autophagy, Colitis, Epithelial Cells, Genome-Wide Association Study, Mice