Adherent-invasive Escherichia coli in inflammatory bowel disease

Palmela C1,2, Chevarin C3, Xu Z4, Torres J1,2, Sevrin G3, Hirten R1, Barnich N3, Ng SC4, Colombel JF1. Gut. 2017 Nov 15. pii: gutjnl-2017-314903. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2017-314903. [Epub ahead of print]
Author information

1 Division of Gastroenterology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City, New York, USA.

2 Division of Gastroenterology, Hospital Beatriz Ângelo, Loures, Portugal.

3 Université Clermont Auvergne, Inserm U1071, USC-INRA 2018, M2iSH, CRNH Auvergne, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France.

4 Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Institute of Digestive Diseases, LKS Institute of Health Science, State Key Laboratory of Digestive Disease, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.


Intestinal microbiome dysbiosis has been consistently described in patients with IBD. In the last decades, Escherichia coli, and the adherent-invasive E coli (AIEC) pathotype in particular, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of IBD. Since the discovery of AIEC, two decades ago, progress has been made in unravelling these bacteria characteristics and its interaction with the gut immune system. The mechanisms of adhesion of AIEC to intestinal epithelial cells (via FimH and cell adhesion molecule 6) and its ability to escape autophagy when inside macrophages are reviewed here. We also explore the existing data on the prevalence of AIEC in patients with Crohn's disease and UC, and the association between the presence of AIEC and disease location, activity and postoperative recurrence. Finally, we highlight potential therapeutic strategies targeting AIEC colonisation of gut mucosa, including the use of phage therapy, bacteriocins and antiadhesive molecules. These strategies may open new avenues for the prevention and treatment of IBD in the future.

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