Environmental Factors and Their Influence on Intestinal Fibrosis

  • Claudio Bernardazzi
  • Fernando Castro
  • Heitor S. de Souza


Multiple endogenous and exogenous factors have been implicated in the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), comprising Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis; these factors may initiate and maintain the chronic inflammatory process, potentially resulting in intestinal fibrosis. Several distinct mechanisms are involved in the tissue response leading to excessive extracellular matrix deposition in IBD. This process involves the complex and dynamic interactions of a network of several genes and molecules, forming a microenvironment that favors the development of fibrosis. In addition to inflammation, alternate contributors have been implicated in intestinal fibrogenesis, including microbiota and the action of microbe-associated molecular patterns and other pattern recognition receptors, as well as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), dietary factors, and natural and synthetic compounds. These elements have been shown to act directly or through epigenetic changes, usually interfering with the immune response and mechanisms of tissue repair, which may ultimately cause fibrosis. Further investigation of specific environmental triggers and the epigenetic molecular network underlying the pathogenesis of IBD may help in the prevention of and in the development of a more effective treatment for intestinal fibrosis.


Inflammatory bowel disease Environmental factors Intestinal fibrosis DAMPs Epigenetics Intestinal microbiota 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudio Bernardazzi
    • 1
  • Fernando Castro
    • 1
  • Heitor S. de Souza
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Serviço de Gastroenterologia e Laboratório Multidisciplinar de Pesquisa, Departamento de Clínica MédicaHospital Universitário Clementino Fraga Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.D’Or Institute for Research and EducationRio de JaneiroBrazil

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