Audience: Healthcare providers
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Animation reviews novel agents for the treatment of Crohn's Disease that target key biologic steps in the inflammatory process. Crohn's disease is an autoimmune disorder characterized by chronic transmural inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Inflammation can be seen anywhere along the GI tract but is most often found in the terminal ileum and cecum of the ascending colon. In Crohn's disease, there is a disruption to the normal physiologic balance between immune activated gastrointestinal inflammation and the down regulation of the inflammatory response, thus resulting in chronic inflammation. Leukocyte recruitment is a crucial step in the inflammatory process and involves a cascade of events that consist of the sequential action of molecular signals and adhesion molecules. Blocking any of these steps reduces inflammation by preventing leukocyte accumulation at the site of inflammation. Novel biologic therapies for Crohn's disease are available that target key biologic steps in the inflammatory process such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and alpha-4 (alpha4) integrin subunits. TNF-alpha is a transmembrane protein produced by macrophages and T-cells. It is released from the membrane of activated cells in response to endotoxins, IL-1, and TNF-alpha. The matrix metalloproteinase, TNF-alpha converting enzyme (TACE), is responsible for cleaving TNF-alpha from the membrane. TNF-alpha ...