Article first published online: 1 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2012.01768.x
CD-associated risk polymorphisms in autophagy-related genes (NOD2, ATG16L1 and IRGM) have been identified. We demonstrate that autophagy defects favoured intramacrophagic replication of CD-associated adherent-invasive E. coli (AIEC) leading to intense pro-inflammatory cytokine release. Conversely, physiological- or pharmacological-induced autophagy can restrain the number of intracellular AIEC and slow down the inflammatory response, indicating that the autophagy state deeply impacts on the outcome of the macrophage response to AIEC infection. Thus, restoring bacteria-induced autophagy in patients bearing risk alleles in autophagy-related genes could be a therapeutic strategy.