Intestinal Barrier and Mucosal Immunity


At birth, we are colonized with a complex community of microbes, ten-times the number of human cells. Normally, these microbes exist in a mutualistic relationship with the host, are critical for growth and development, and help maintain host physiology, metabolism, and immunity. The intestinal barrier provides a first line of defense in the host, by physically separating the internal milieu from the gut lumen, which contains potentially harmful antigens from the diet and the microbiota. On the other hand, the maturation of innate and adaptive immunity in the host is dependent on microbial and dietary antigen cues. Thus, gut luminal content and mucosal immunity exists in a delicate balance between homeostasis and pathogenicity. Under certain pathological circumstances immune and barrier function in the host can be compromised favoring inflammation and disease. Researchers at the Farncombe Institute investigate the factors that influence functional and immune mechanisms of the barrier such as microbial recognition, production of antimicrobial peptides, mucus, secretion of antibodies and selective permeability to find novel therapeutic targets to prevent chronic inflammation and disease (Natividad et al. Pharmacol Res. 2013).barrier_diag

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