Immune Mechanisms in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Volume 579 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology pp 108-116

The Role of the Epithelial Barrier in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

  • Edward E. S. NieuwenhuisAffiliated withLaboratory of Pediatrics, Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Erasmus MC
  • , Richard S. BlumbergAffiliated withGastroenterology Division and Laboratory of Mucosal Immunology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

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The epithelial barrier protects the intestine from harmful antigens. The intestinal epithelial cell produces a wide array of molecules that play a role in initiating, maintaining, but also preventing and controlling mucosal inflammation. A defect in epithelial cell regulated barrier function may lead to continued exposure of intestinal immune cells to bacterially derived molecules leading to destructive intestinal inflammation that characterizes IBD.