Effector and regulatory lymphoid cells and cytokines in mucosal sites

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 1999;236:113-35. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-59951-4_7.


In this review, I hope to have highlighted that cytokines are of crucial importance in the normal homeostasis of the gut immune system, the interactions of the gut immune system with enteric antigens and also in tissue injury associated with IBD. There is evidence from a number of different systems that the response to nominal non-replicating antigens, administered nasally or orally, is skewed towards a non-Th1 type of response. To say that the response is Th2, Th3 or Tr is premature. IL-10 and TGF beta seem to be important in downregulating potentially tissue-damaging Th1 responses to the normal flora and possibly food antigens. However, it need to be seen whether the mouse results also apply to humans. A consistent pattern in disease states, whether it be human or mouse, is an exaggerated Th1 type response with excess local production of IFN-gamma and TNF alpha, and its association with tissue injury. An important question to address is whether this represents a switch from the Th2, Th3, or Tr pathway towards a Th1 pathway, or whether the Th1 pathway is in fact always present in the gut, but is kept in check and non-pathogenic by regulatory cells. Equally important is the need to discover where regulation occurs: is it in the PP or the lamina propria? Intriguing results from Kronenberg and colleagues have shown that SCID mice reconstituted with CD45RBhi or CD45RBlo cells show no difference in the re-population of the gut prior to disease (ARANDA et al. 1997). The reason for colitis developing in those mice reconstituted with CD45RBhi cells is therefore more complex than merely differential re-population kinetics. No matter what the outcome is, these and other related questions dealing with the induction and expression of mucosal T-cell responses are going to produce some surprises in the next few years.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens / administration & dosage
  • Basement Membrane / immunology
  • Celiac Disease / immunology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Colitis / immunology
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Desensitization, Immunologic
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Epithelial Cells / immunology
  • Helicobacter Infections / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / injuries
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology
  • Mice
  • Nasal Mucosa / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / chemistry
  • T-Lymphocytes / classification
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Antigens
  • Cytokines