Intestinal Mucosal Barrier Function in Health and Disease

Nat Rev Immunol. 2009 Nov;9(11):799-809. doi: 10.1038/nri2653.

Abstract

Mucosal surfaces are lined by epithelial cells. These cells establish a barrier between sometimes hostile external environments and the internal milieu. However, mucosae are also responsible for nutrient absorption and waste secretion, which require a selectively permeable barrier. These functions place the mucosal epithelium at the centre of interactions between the mucosal immune system and luminal contents, including dietary antigens and microbial products. Recent advances have uncovered mechanisms by which the intestinal mucosal barrier is regulated in response to physiological and immunological stimuli. Here I discuss these discoveries along with evidence that this regulation shapes mucosal immune responses in the gut and, when dysfunctional, may contribute to disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / immunology
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / physiology
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / immunology
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / immunology*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / immunology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Homeostasis / immunology
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal / immunology
  • Intestinal Diseases / immunology
  • Intestinal Diseases / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / immunology
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Tight Junctions / immunology*
  • Tight Junctions / metabolism

Substances

  • Cytokines
  • Membrane Proteins