Crohn's Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation or ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract and can sometimes run in families. While the cause is unknown, many professionals believe that the body's immune system may overreact to normal intestinal bacteria or that disease-causing bacteria and viruses may play a role in triggering the condition.
The recent study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, shows the effect of one particular gene − a Crohn's Disease candidate gene named TLR 5 − on both Jews and non-Jews with the disease.
It is estimated that American Jews are three times more likely to develop Crohn's Disease than the population as a whole. Approximately 80 percent of the six million Jews in the United States are Ashkenazi Jews, an ethnic group whose ancestors are from eastern and central Europe,
As Jerome I. Rotter, M.D., first author of the study, director of research and co-director of the Medical Genetics Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center explained, the innate immune system senses micro-organisms and pathogens using a family of proteins known as the Toll-Like Receptors (TLRs). This recognition activates both the innate and adaptive immune system, with each TLR recognizing a specific pattern of microbial components.