Is HBx protein the X factor in the pathogenesis of IBD?

Indrani Mukhopadhya* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

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The role of viruses in the aetiopathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been a topic of conjecture for decades. Initial focus on specific viral agents in IBD like norovirus, rotaviruses and measles virus did not gain ground. The advent of metagenomics and detailed assessment of the ‘whole gut virome’ has now shown that the gastrointestinal tract harbours nearly 109 virus like particles per gram, with the majority comprised of prokaryotic viruses (bacteriophages infecting bacteria) and a minority of eukaryotic viruses.1 In IBD, the bacteriophages as apex predators in the gut ecosystem can alter their bacterial prey resulting in ‘dysbiosis’ of the bacterial population whereas eukaryotic viruses can interact directly with the host innate immune system and lead to chronic inflammation.1 This leaves us with the intriguing prospect that ‘viral dysbiosis’ could very well be the initiating event triggering the inflammatory cascade in patients with IBD.2
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1808-1809
Number of pages2
Issue number10
Early online date22 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023


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