THE ROLE OF BUTYRIC ACID AS A PROTECTIVE AGENT AGAINST INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASES

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Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, are pa-thologies characterized by a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Their etiopathogenesis is not yet fully understood. Immune system and heat shock proteins (Hsps) dysfunctions are considered to be among the most likely causes of these diseases. Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid mainly produced by intestinal microflora. It has a tro-phic, beneficial and protective role in the colonic mucosa, and it also induces changes in Hsp levels and localization. It may therefore be a valuable complementary therapeutic agent when used alongside traditional drugs (mesalazine and corticosteroids) to treat such conditions. The administration of specific probiotic formulations in order to increase the production of butyrate in the endoluminal environment may promote clinical remis-sion in IBD patients. Due to these characteristics, there has been keen interest in the use of butyrate as a novel therapeutic supplement in the recent years. The current findings need to be validated through further clinical trials to better define the biomolecular dy-namics of butyrate in the colonocytes of IBD patients.
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