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Protease inhibition as new therapeutic strategy for GI diseases
  1. Nathalie Vergnolle1,2,3,4,5
  1. 1Inserm, U1220, Toulouse, France
  2. 2Université de Toulouse, Université Paul Sabatier, Institut de Recherche en Santé Digestive (IRSD), Toulouse, France
  3. 3Inra, U1416, Toulouse, France
  4. 4Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Toulouse (ENVT), France
  5. 5Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nathalie Vergnolle, INSERM, UMR-1220, IRSD, Place du Dr. Baylac, CHU Purpan, CS 60039, Toulouse 31024, Cedex 3, France; nathalie.vergnolle{at}


The GI tract is the most exposed organ to proteases, both in physiological and pathophysiological conditions. For digestive purposes, the lumen of the upper GI tract contains large amounts of pancreatic proteases, but studies have also demonstrated increased proteolytic activity into mucosal tissues (both in the upper and lower GI tract), associated with pathological conditions. This review aims at outlining the evidences for dysregulated proteolytic homeostasis in GI diseases and the pathogenic mechanisms of increased proteolytic activity. The therapeutic potential of protease inhibition in GI diseases is discussed, with a particular focus on IBDs, functional GI disorders and colorectal cancer.


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