Intestinal stromal cells in mucosal immunity and homeostasis

Mucosal Immunol. 2013 Mar;6(2):224-34. doi: 10.1038/mi.2012.125. Epub 2012 Dec 12.


A growing body of evidence suggests that non-hematopoietic stromal cells of the intestine have multiple roles in immune responses and inflammation at this mucosal site. Despite this, many still consider gut stromal cells as passive structural entities, with past research focused heavily on their roles in fibrosis, tumor progression, and wound healing, rather than their contributions to immune function. In this review, we discuss our current knowledge of stromal cells in intestinal immunity, highlighting the many immunological axes in which stromal cells have a functional role. We also consider emerging data that broaden the potential scope of their contribution to immunity in the gut and argue that these so-called "non-immune" cells are reclassified in light of their diverse contributions to intestinal innate immunity and the maintenance of mucosal homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Granulocytes / immunology
  • Homeostasis / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology
  • Myeloid Cells / cytology
  • Stromal Cells / immunology*
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology