Diplomate American Board of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Consultant Pediatric Gastroenterologist and HepatologistPushpawati Singhania and Research Institute for Liver, Renal and Digestive Diseases
Cite this article as:
Vohra, P. Indian J Pediatr (2000) 67: 747. doi:10.1007/BF02723935
Till about 3 decades ago, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was considered as non-existent in our country. However, since that time several reports of IBD, mainly ulcerative colitis have been published. More recently, Crohn’s disease is also being reported from the country. This trend of UC appearing first in a population followed by CD also appears to be true in other developing nations. A substantial increase in the rates of CD over UC in the last few decades is reported from developed nations as well. Of the other epidemiological factors, an increased risk of CD and lower risk of UC in smokers is established in adults. However, it appears that smoking increases the risk of IBD in children. The etiology of IBD remains elusive. Within the triad of genetics, immunity and antigen responsible for the development of IBD, maximum advances have been made in the field of immune aberrations and this is being exploited to treat the disease. It is well established that IBD results from a disordered immune system in the gut, in response to an unidentified antigen in a predisposed individual. The immune response is enhanced and revolves around antigen-presenting cells, CD 4 T-lymphocytes and tumor necrosis factor alpha. CD results from an enhanced Th1 activity. The pathogenesis of UC is less clear but appears to be humoral. Advances in diagnostics include the availability of serology, ultrasound and nuclear scans, none of which have been tried in our setting where infectious diseases and tuberculosis is rampant. Growth failure and the importance of nutrition in IBD, especially CD, cannot be underemphasized. In many situations nutritional interventions have been used solely as a form of therapy for CD. Newer steroid molecules with minimal systemic effects are also being considered. Other treatment options highlighted are the use of immunosuppressive agents, biologic agents and role of surgery.