Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) defines a spectrum of complex disorders. Understanding how environmental risk factors, alterations of the intestinal microbiota, and polygenetic and epigenetic susceptibility impact on immune pathways is key for developing targeted therapies. Mechanistic understanding of polygenic IBD is complemented by Mendelian disorders that present with IBD, pharmacological interventions that cause colitis, autoimmunity, and multiple animal models. Collectively, this multifactorial pathogenesis supports a concept of immune checkpoints that control microbial-host interactions in the gut by modulating innate and adaptive immunity, as well as epithelial and mesenchymal cell responses. In addition to classical immunosuppressive strategies, we discuss how resetting the microbiota and restoring innate immune responses, in particular autophagy and epithelial barrier function, might be key for maintaining remission or preventing IBD. Targeting checkpoints in genetically stratified subgroups of patients with Mendelian disorder-associated IBD increasingly directs treatment strategies as part of personalized medicine.

Original publication




Journal article


Annual review of immunology

Publication Date





755 - 781


Department of Pediatrics, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 9DU, United Kingdom; email: