Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2010 Jun 1;2:993-1008.
Stem cells as potential therapeutic targets for inflammatory bowel disease.
Singh UP, Singh NP, Singh B, Mishra MK, Nagarkatti M, Nagarkatti PS, Singh SR.
Pathology and Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.
The incidence and prevalence of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the two major forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are rising. According to some estimates >1 million new cases of IBD arise in the United States annually. The conventional therapies available for IBD range from anti-inflammatory drugs to immunosuppressive agents, but these therapies generally fail to achieve satisfactory results due to their side effects. Interest in a new therapeutic option, that is, biological therapy, has gained much momentum recently due to its focus on different stages of the inflammatory process. Stem cell (SC) research has become a new direction for IBD therapy due to our recent understanding of cell populations involved in the pathogenic process. To this end, hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells are receiving more attention from IBD investigators. The intestinal environment, with its crypts and niches, supports incoming embryonic and hematopoietic stem cells and allows them to engraft and differentiate. The above findings suggest that, in the future, SC-based therapy will be a promising alternative to conventional therapy for IBD. In this review, we discuss SCs as potential therapeutic targets for future treatment of IBD.