Since the initial description of granular-rich small-intestinal crypt-based epithelial cells in 1872, today
referred to as Paneth cells, a plethora of recent studies underlined their function in intestinal homeostasis. Paneth
cells are evolutionary conserved highly secretory cells that produce antimicrobials to control gut microbial communities.
Moreover, Paneth cells emerged as stem cell regulators that translate environmental cues into intestinal
epithelial responses. Paneth cell disturbances may instigate intestinal inflammation and provide susceptibility to
infection. Altered Paneth cell functions have been associated with a variety of inflammatory disease models and
were linked to human intestinal disease processes including inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn´s disease
and ulcerative colitis. This review summarizes our current understanding of Paneth cells and their antimicrobials
in health and disease.
Keywords: Paneth cells, antimicrobials, intestinal inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease, gut microbiota, epithelial cells.
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