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Intestinal epithelial cell regulation of mucosal inflammation

Abstract

The intestinal epithelium serves as one of human's primary interfaces with the outside world. This interface is very heavily colonized with bacteria and yet permits absorption of life-sustaining nutrients while protecting the tissues below from microbial on slaught. Although the gut epithelium had been classically thought to achieve this function primarily by functioning as a passive, albeit highly selective, barrier, research over the last decade has demonstrated that in fact the epithelium plays a very active role in protecting the host from the bacteria that colonize it. As a consequence of its mediation of mucosal immunity, intestinal epithelial dysfunction appears to be central to diseases associated with aberrant gut mucosal immune responses such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This article reviews: (1) how the gut epithelium participates in regulating innate immune inflammatory responses to enteric pathogens, (2) how these responses may regulate the adaptive immune system, (3) mechanisms that may resolve acute inflammation and (4) how epithelial dysfunction may participate in regulating both the active and chronic phases of IBD.

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Yu, Y., Sitaraman, S. & Gewirtz, A.T. Intestinal epithelial cell regulation of mucosal inflammation. Immunol Res 29, 55–67 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1385/IR:29:1-3:055

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Key words

  • Bacteria
  • Neutrophils
  • Chemokines
  • Inflammatory bowel disease