Digestive diseases are among the leading causes of doctor visits, hospitalizations, and disability in the United States each year. These conditions span a wide spectrum of disorders that affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas, as well as obesity and other nutrition-related disorders. Some digestive diseases, such as celiac disease, can be triggered by the body’s reaction to certain foods. Digestive diseases can cause serious complications ranging from severe pain to elevated risk of cancer to liver failure. (For more information on liver diseases, please see the Liver Disease research page.)
NIDDK-supported scientists are investigating the complex interactions among the genetic, environmental, immune, microbial, and other factors that contribute to the development of inflammatory bowel diseases and other digestive disorders. This research, in turn, may lead to improved diagnosis and prevention approaches, and catalyze the design of novel therapeutic strategies.
NIDDK also supports research to better understand the genes that predispose individuals to develop celiac disease, which may improve early diagnosis of the disease, before damage occurs. NIDDK-funded scientists are working on how GI microorganisms influence the development and function of the digestive tract and immune and metabolic functions.
NIDDK, along with other NIH, federal, and non-federal partners, is also continuing efforts to address goals for advancing digestive diseases research in the NIH-led National Commission on Digestive Diseases research plan.
In addition, NIDDK has congressional authorization for the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, which provides services via the NIDDK Health Information Center. NIDDK responds to questions and provides health information about digestive diseases to people with digestive diseases and to their families, health professionals, and the public.
Research Updates and News
- Signals between nervous system and intestinal cells control protective mucus layer production in gut
- Substance produced by gut following bariatric surgery regulates metabolic health in mice
- Cellular response to bacteria may explain why infection sometimes causes stomach cancer
- Identifying defects in wound healing in inflammatory bowel disease
- How a gut “feeling” helps digestion
What We Do
To achieve its mission, NIDDK supports, conducts, coordinates, and plans research. NIDDK also provides data and samples from NIDDK-funded studies and explains research findings to health professionals and the public.
NIDDK invests in basic, clinical and translational research and training at colleges, universities and other institutions.
- Acute & Chronic Pancreatitis
- Digestive Diseases Clinical Research & Epidemiology
- Digestive Diseases Genetics & Genomics
- Digestive Diseases Research Core Centers
- Gastrointestinal Immunology, Inflammation, & Inflammatory Diseases
- Gastrointestinal Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
Coordinate & Plan Research
NIDDK takes multiple approaches to research planning and priority setting.
Meetings & WorkshopsView all Meetings & Workshops
Strategic Plans & Reports
- NIDDK Strategic Plan for Research
- Opportunities & Challenges in Digestive Diseases Research: Recommendations of the National Commission on Digestive Diseases
- The Burden of Digestive Diseases in the United States
- Action Plan for Liver Disease Research
Provide Access to Research Resources
NIDDK makes publicly supported resources, data sets, and studies available to researchers.View all Research Resources
Provide Health Information
NIDDK provides patient education information, practice tools for diagnosis and treatment, and statistics.