The mucosae of the gastrointestinal tract are continuously exposed to a myriad of antigens and microorganisms that the immune system has to discriminate between dangerous and harmless. Entry of pathogenic microorganisms occurs mainly via M cells that are concentrated in the follicle-associated epithelium overlying the Peyer's Patches (PPs). M cells are very selective and do not allow entry of all microorganisms. We have recently described an additional mechanism by which dendritic cells (DCs) can monitor the contents of the intestinal lumen. DCs send dendrites outside the epithelium, like periscopes. It is not clear whether this mechanism is constitutively active or is induced in response to signals from epithelial cells that have been in contact with pathogens or high numbers of non pathogenic bacteria in the lumen. Therefore, deciphering the signals that are released by epithelial cells after the encounter with mucosal antigens is of paramount importance to understand the ability of the DCs to respond to the different antigens and to mount immune or tolerogenic responses.
- Dendritic cells
- Epithelial cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health