Diversity and functions of intestinal mononuclear phagocytes

Mucosal Immunol. 2017 Jul;10(4):845-864. doi: 10.1038/mi.2017.22. Epub 2017 Apr 5.


The intestinal lamina propria (LP) contains a diverse array of mononuclear phagocyte (MNP) subsets, including conventional dendritic cells (cDC), monocytes and tissue-resident macrophages (mφ) that collectively play an essential role in mucosal homeostasis, infection and inflammation. In the current review we discuss the function of intestinal cDC and monocyte-derived MNP, highlighting how these subsets play several non-redundant roles in the regulation of intestinal immune responses. While much remains to be learnt, recent findings also underline how the various populations of MNP adapt to deal with the challenges specific to their environment. Understanding these processes should help target individual subsets for 'fine tuning' immunological responses within the intestine, a process that may be of relevance both for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and for optimized vaccine design.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Immunomodulation
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology*
  • Phagocytes / immunology*
  • Vaccines / immunology*


  • Vaccines