The functions of mucosal T cells in containing the indigenous commensal flora of the intestine

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2002 Dec;59(12):2088-96. doi: 10.1007/s000180200009.


There is an immense load of non-pathogenic commensal bacteria in the distal small intestine and the colon of mammals. The physical barrier that prevents penetration (translocation) of these organisms into the body is a simple epithelium comprised of the single enterocyte/colonocyte cell layer with its overlying mucus. In this review, we discuss the roles of intestinal T cells in initiating and regulating innate and adaptive mucosal immune responses of the mucosal immune system that avoid or limit penetration of the commensal intestinal bacteria.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Bacterial Translocation*
  • Epithelial Cells / immunology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*