The gut is home to our largest collection of microbes. The ability of the immune system to coevolve with the microbiota during postnatal life allows the host and microbiota to coexist in a mutually beneficial relationship. Failure to achieve or maintain equilibrium between a host and its microbiota has negative consequences for both intestinal and systemic health. In this Review, we consider the many cellular and molecular methods by which inflammatory responses are regulated to maintain intestinal homeostasis and the disease states that can ensue when this balance is lost.
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