Healthy Living

Newly Discovered 'Backup' Immune System Could Help Doctors Improve Crohn's Treatment

Where was the secondary pathway discovered?

Where was the secondary pathway discovered?

The secondary pathway was discovered in the cells lining the intestines, which normally produce small antibacterial compounds on the surface of the cells to create a type of barrier against pathogens. The lining is important because, while bacteria are essential for the digestion of food, they can “cause illness if able to invade our tissues,” explained lead researcher Dr. Shai Bel.

In mice without the Crohn’s mutation, the secondary pathway was open and allowed the pathogen-fighting proteins through to the cell surface.

The UT Southwestern study was done in conjunction with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The findings were published in the journal Science.