Surface epithelia provide a critical barrier to the outside world. Upon a barrier breach, resident epithelial and immune cells coordinate efforts to control infections and heal tissue damage. Inflammation can etch lasting marks within tissues, altering features such as scope and quality of future responses. By remembering inflammatory experiences, tissues are better equipped to quickly and robustly respond to barrier breaches. Alarmingly, in disease states, memory may fuel the inflammatory fire. Here, we review the cellular communication networks in barrier tissues and the integration between tissue-resident and recruited immune cells and tissue stem cells underlying tissue adaptation to environmental stress.
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