The incidence and prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) continues to rise with time, signifying its emergence as a global disease. Clinical onset of IBD, comprising Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, typically occurs before or at peak reproductive age. Although active disease in female patients is associated with reduced fertility and adverse obstetric outcomes in pregnancy, the molecular mechanisms underlying this altered reproductive course, and its impact on IBD transmission to offspring, remain poorly understood. Clinical and experimental studies have now begun to elucidate the hormonal, environmental, and microbial factors that modulate immune-reproductive cross talk in IBD and define their impact on maternal health, fetal development, and heritability of disease risk. Evolving insight into maternal-fetal imprinting in IBD has important implications for patient counseling and disease management during pregnancy and may help predict clinical outcomes for both mother and child.
University College Dublin ->