Working out mechanisms of controlled/physiologic inflammation in the GI tract
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- Rabinowitz, K. & Mayer, L. Immunol Res (2012) 54: 14. doi:10.1007/s12026-012-8315-5
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The mucosal immune system is distinct from its systemic counterpart by virtue of its enormous antigenic exposure (commensal flora, food antigen, pathogens). Despite this, the mucosal immune system maintains a response defined as controlled or physiologic inflammation. This is regulated by many different mechanisms, among which there are physical, cellular and soluble factors. Our laboratory has focused on unique Tregs in the gut controlled by, in one instance, intestinal epithelial cells that serve as non-professional antigen-presenting cells. We believe that intestinal epithelial cells, expressing classical and non-classical MHC molecules, serve to activate Tregs and thus maintain controlled or physiologic inflammation. In this review, we describe regulatory cytokines and T cells that are one part of the emphasis of our laboratory.