Crohn's Disease Causes

The exact cause of Crohn's disease is not known. Some possible causes include genetic problems, certain types of infections, problems with the immune system, and the environment. Stress, anxiety, or the foods you eat do not appear to be causes of the disease. Crohn's disease is not contagious -- you cannot catch it from another person.

An Overview of Crohn's Disease Causes

Crohn's disease research scientists do not yet know exactly what causes Crohn's disease -- there are only theories about its cause. Some possible causes of Crohn's disease that have been studied include:
  • Genetic problems
  • Certain types of infections
  • A problem with the immune system
  • The environment.
It is possible that Crohn's disease is caused by a combination of factors.
While research scientists do not know the exact cause or causes of Crohn's disease, they do not believe that stress, anxiety, or the foods you eat cause the disease.


Crohn's disease is more common in whites and Jews, as well as people who have a family history of Crohn's disease. In fact, studies show that about 1 out of 5 people with Crohn's disease have a close relative with some type of inflammatory bowel disease. For these reasons, researchers believe that the tendency to get Crohn's disease may be genetic (related to your specific genes).
Crohn's disease is considered a "complex trait," meaning that several genes at different locations in the genome may contribute to Crohn's disease. A location for the genes that contribute to Crohn's disease susceptibility was recently mapped to chromosome 16. Candidate genes found in this region include several involved in the inflammatory response, such as:
  • CD19, involved in B-lymphocyte function
  • Sialophorin, involved in leukocyte adhesion
  • The CD11 integrin cluster, involved in microbacterial cell adhesion
  • The interleukin-4 receptor, which is interesting, as interleukin-4-mediated functions are altered in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs).

Crohn's Disease Information

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