Topic Highlight
Copyright ©2011 Baishideng Publishing Group Co., Limited. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Jun 14, 2011; 17(22): 2715-2722
Published online Jun 14, 2011. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i22.2715
Familial aggregation in inflammatory bowel disease: Is it genes or environment?
Tiago Nunes, Gionata Fiorino, Silvio Danese, Miquel Sans
Tiago Nunes, Miquel Sans, Department of Gastroenterology, Hospital Clinic i Provincial/IDIBAPS, CIBER EHD, 08036 Barcelona, Spain
Gionata Fiorino, Silvio Danese, Division of Gastroenterology, IRCCS Istituto Clinico Humanitas, Rozzano, Milan 20089, Italy
Author contributions: Fiorino G, Danese S, Sans M and Nunes T performed the literature review; Sans M and Nunes T wrote the manuscript.
Supported by Grants from Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (SAF2008/03676) and Fundació Miarnau to Sans M
Correspondence to: Miquel Sans, MD, PhD, Department of Gastroenterology, Hospital Clínic i Provincial/IDIBAPS, CIBER EHD, 170 Villarroel, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.
Telephone: +34-93-2275418 Fax: +34-93-2279387
Received: June 28, 2010
Revised: September 18, 2010
Accepted: September 25, 2010
Published online: June 14, 2011

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) develops in genetically susceptible individuals due to the influence of environmental factors, leading to an abnormal recognition of microbiota antigens by the innate immune system which triggers an exaggerated immune response and subsequent bowel tissue damage. IBD has been more frequently found in families, an observation that could be due to either genetic, environmental or both types of factors present in these families. In addition to expanding our knowledge on IBD pathogenesis, defining the specific contribution to familial IBD of each one of these factors might have also clinical usefulness. We review the available evidence on familial IBD pathogenesis.

Keywords: Inflammatory bowel disease, Familial aggregation, Familial clustering, Environmental factors, Genetics, Genome wide association studies