Author(s): Wells JM, Loonen LM, Karczewski JM
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Abstract In the intestine innate recognition of microbes is achieved through pattern recognition receptor (PRR) families expressed in immune cells and different cell lineages of the intestinal epithelium. Toll-like receptor (TLR) and nucleotide-binding and oligomerization domain-like receptor (NLR) families are emerging as key mediators of immunity through their role as maturation factors of immune cells and triggers for the production of cytokines and chemokines and antimicrobial factors. At the mucosal surface chronic activation of the immune system is avoided through the epithelial production of a glycocalyx, steady-state production of antimicrobial factors as well as the selective expression and localization of PRRs. Additionally, the polarization of epithelial TLR signaling and suppression of NF-kappaB activation by luminal commensals appears to contribute to the homeostasis of tolerance and immunity. Several studies have demonstrated that TLR signaling in epithelial cells contributes to a range of homeostatic mechanisms including proliferation, wound healing, epithelial integrity, and regulation of mucosal immune functions. The intestinal epithelium appears to have uniquely evolved to maintain mucosal tolerance and immunity, and future efforts to further understand the molecular mechanisms of intestinal homeostasis may have a major impact on human health. Copyright 2009 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Int J Med Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology