The etiology of the intestinal disease Crohn’s disease involves genetic factors as well as ill-defined environmental agents. Several genetic variants linked to this disease are associated with autophagy, a process that is critical for proper responses to viral infections. While a role for viruses in this disease remains speculative, accumulating evidence indicate that this possibility requires serious consideration. In this review, we will examine the three-way relationship between viruses, autophagy genes, and Crohn’s disease and discuss how host-pathogen interactions can mediate complex inflammatory disorders
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