The intestinal epithelium has emerged as one of the links between the innate and adaptive immune systems. Novel roles have been elucidated for its participation in antigen uptake and presentation, costimulatory signaling, and intestinal homeostasis. Its concomitant interaction with immune cells and commensal flora demonstrates the epitheliums multifaceted responsibility in protecting against intestinal pathology while maintaining immune competence. Its functional capacity is now more clearly defined in disease states such as celiac disease, Crohns disease, and ulcerative colitis and in maintaining intestinal integrity through toll-like receptor signaling pathways.
Keywords: intestinal epithelial cells, intestinal trefoil factor, dextran sulfate sodium, decay-accelerating factor, antimicrobial peptides, cell surface molecules, chemokines and cytokines
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