Gut mucosal homeostasis depends on complex interactions among the microbiota, the intestinal epithelium, and the gut associated immune system. A breakdown in some of these interactions may precipitate inflammation. Inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis are chronic inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. The initial stages of disease are marked by an abnormally high level of pro-inflammatory helper T cells, Th1. In later stages, Th2 helper cells may dominate while the Th1 response may dampen. The interaction among the T cells includes the regulatory T cells (Treg). The present paper develops a mathematical model by a system of differential equations with terms nonlocal in the space spanned by the concentrations of cytokines that represents the interaction among T cells through a cytokine signaling network. The model demonstrates how the abnormal levels of T cells observed in inflammatory bowel diseases can arise from abnormal regulation of Th1 and Th2 cells by Treg cells.
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