The ability of the mucosal immune system to distinguish between harmful and harmless antigens is essential for mounting protective immune responses and preventing the induction of mucosal pathology yet the basis for this remains unclear. As fed antigen can also exert systemic effects understanding oral tolerance and priming will also have important consequences for therapy and vaccination. Here we will not only review the increasing amount of information about the potential mechanisms of oral tolerance and priming but also attempt to shed some light on how differences in the uptake and handling i.e. 'the journey' of orally administered antigen may promote these mechanisms.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.