Main Article Content
The gastrointestinal tract regulates the trafficking of macromolecules between the environment and the host through an epithelial barrier mechanism and is an important part of the immune system controlling the equilibrium between tolerance and immunity to non-self-antigens. Various evidence indicates that intestinal inflammation occurs in patients with rheumatic diseases. In many rheumatic diseases intestinal inflammation appears to be linked to dysbiosis and possibly represents the common denominator in the pathogenesis of different rheumatic diseases. The continuative interaction between dysbiosis and the intestinal immune system may lead to the aberrant activation of immune cells that can re-circulate from the gut to the sites of extraintestinal inflammation as observed in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. The exact contribution of genetic factors in the development of intestinal inflammation in rheumatic diseases needs to be clarified.