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Innate immunity in the intestine in health and disease
Published on January 31, 2013 42 min
A selection of talks on Immunology
Inflammation: purposes, mechanisms and development
- Prof. Pietro Ghezzi
- University of Urbino, Italy
Studying immune responses “one cell at a time”
- Dr. Mir-Farzin Mashreghi
- Deutsches Rheuma-Forschungszentrum, Germany
Hi. My name's Kevin Maloy. I'm a lecturer in Experimental Pathology at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford. My lab has a long-standing interest in mucosal immunology, with a particular focus on the regulation of innate immunity in the intestine, which is the subject of this lecture. My group is interested in how different types of innate immune receptors contribute to protection from infection, but also to immune pathology and allergen testing. I'll use some examples from our research to illustrate some recent advances in the innate immune pathways in the intestine.
I will briefly describe some of the key features of intestinal immunity, including some of the unique characteristics that differentiate the intestinal immune system from the systemic immune system. I'll then outline the key functions of intestinal epithelial cells, which are an integral part of innate immune defense in the gut, by maintaining an effective barrier function and by producing protective immune factors. I will also consider how intestinal microbes are detected by the innate immune system through pattern recognition receptors (PPRs), and how these interactions can regulate intestinal homeostasis. I will outline recent findings on the types and functions of innate leukocytes in the gut. In the second part of the lecture, I will discuss how dysregulation of innate immunity in the gut is associated with inflammatory bowel disease.
Most of what we know about how the immune system works has been derived from extensive study of systemic immune responses, which are elicited in the peripheral lymphoid tissues, such as the lymph nodes and spleen. However, most pathogens invade the body at interfaces between the host and external environment, such as in mucosal surfaces. These are internal body surfaces lined by a thin layer of mucus-secreting epithelium, such as the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract and the urogenital tract. These surfaces constitute a huge surface area. Therefore, the mucosal immune system is the largest immune compartment in the body. It contains 75 percent of all lymphocytes and produces the majority of antibodies. The mucosal immune system presents the first line of defense against invading pathogens, and also provides protection against reinfection by previously encountered pathogens.