• Mary H. Perdue
  • Derek M. McKay


The epithelium is the critical cell layer at mucosal surfaces since it forms the boundary between the external environment and the body proper. This cell layer plays a major role in host defense since it serves as a barrier and secretes fluid, mucus, and antibodies that contribute to the elimination of antigens from the body. Over the past 15 y, many experimental studies have been published that provide insights into the role of epithelial cells in allergic diseases. It is now recognized that the functions of epithelia are regulated by nerves and altered by immune cell mediators and cytokines. New evidence suggests that stress increases epithelial permeability. Enhanced transepithelial uptake of antigens, infectious agents, and toxins may stimulate allergic reactions and/or inflammatory responses that cause epithelial injury.


Nitric Oxide Mast Cell Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patient Nasal Polyp Airway Epithelium 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary H. Perdue
  • Derek M. McKay

There are no affiliations available

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