The microbiota that populates the mammalian intestine consists of hundreds of trillions of bacteria that are separated from underlying immune cells by a single layer of epithelial cells. The intestinal immune system effectively tolerates components of the microbiota that provide benefit to the host while remaining poised to eliminate those that are harmful. Antigen presenting cells, especially macrophages and dendritic cells, play important roles in maintaining intestinal homeostasis via their ability to orchestrate appropriate responses to the microbiota. Paramount to elucidating intestinal macrophage- and dendritic cell-mediated functions is the ability to effectively isolate and identify these cells from a complex cellular environment. In this review, we summarize methodology for the isolation and phenotypic characterization of macrophages and DCs from the mouse intestine and discuss how this may be useful for gaining insight into the mechanisms by which mucosal immune tolerance is maintained.
Keywords: Antigen presenting cell; Dendritic cell; Intestine; Macrophage.
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