Current Gastroenterology Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 513–521 | Cite as

Intraepithelial Lymphocytes: To Serve and Protect

  • Brian S. Sheridan
  • Leo LefrançoisEmail author


The mucosal immune system is constantly exposed to a wide range of commensal and potentially pathogenic microbial species. Chronic exposure to foreign organisms makes generation of an appropriate immune response critical in maintaining a balance between elimination of harmful pathogens, peaceful coexistence with commensals, and prevention of autoimmunity. Intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes provide a first line of defense at this extensive barrier with the outside world, and as such, understanding their role in immunity is critical.


Mucosal immunology Intraepithelial lymphocyte CD8αβ T cell γδ T cell T-cell migration Immunologic memory Intestinal homeostasis Microbial surveillance 



Conflicts of interest: Dr. Sheridan’s institution has received grants from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Dr. Lefrançois’s laboratory has received grants from the National Institutes of Health.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ImmunologyUniversity of Connecticut Health CenterFarmingtonUSA

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