The Role of Innate and Adaptive Immune Cells in the Pathogenesis and Development of the Inflammatory Response in Ulcerative Colitis

J Clin Med. 2022 Jan 13;11(2):400. doi: 10.3390/jcm11020400.


Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory disease with an underlying excessive immune response directed against resident microbiota and/or dietary antigens. Both innate and adaptive immune cells play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of UC. In the case of innate immune response cells, neutrophils, dendritic cells, macrophages have a crucial impact on the development of the disease, as well as innate lymphoid cells, which have received a particular attention in recent years. On the other hand, mechanisms of the adaptive immune response involve cells such as: cytotoxic lymphocytes, regulatory lymphocytes Treg, or helper lymphocytes Th-Th2, Th9, Th17, Th22, among which significant discoveries about Th9 and Th17 lymphocytes have been made in recent years. Due to the presence of antibodies directed against resident microbiota or one's own tissues, the influence of B lymphocytes on the development of UC is also highlighted. Additionally, the impact of cytokines on shaping the immune response as well as sustaining inflammation seems to be crucial. This review briefly describes the current state of knowledge about the involvement of the innate and adaptive immune systems in the pathogenesis of UC. The review is based on personal selection of literature that were retrieved by a selective search in PubMed using the terms "ulcerative colitis" and "pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis". It included systematic reviews, meta-analyses and clinical trials. Our knowledge of the involvement of the immune system in the pathophysiology of IBD has advanced rapidly over the last two decades, leading to the development of several immune-targeted treatments with a biological source, known as biologic agents.

Keywords: dendritic cells; innate lymphoid cells; lymphocytes; macrophages; ulcerative colitis.

Publication types

  • Review