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Copyright ©2008 The WJG Press and Baishideng. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Sep 7, 2008; 14(33): 5138-5148
Published online Sep 7, 2008. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.5138
Role of mucosal dendritic cells in inflammatory bowel disease
Jan Hendrik Niess
Jan Hendrik Niess, Department of Internal Medicine I, Ulm University, Ulm 89031, Germany
Author contributions: Niess JH contributed all to this paper.
Supported by The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, No. Ni 575/4-1
Correspondence to: Jan Hendrik Niess, MD, Department of Internal Medicine I, Ulm University, Ulm University Street, Helmholtzstr, 8/1, Ulm 89031, Germany.
Telephone: +49-731-50044736 Fax: +49-731-50033654
Received: May 12, 2008
Revised: July 25, 2008
Accepted: August 2, 2008
Published online: September 7, 2008

The gastrointestinal innate and adaptive immune system continuously faces the challenge of potent stimuli from the commensal microflora and food constituents. These local immune responses require a tight control, the outcome of which is in most cases the induction of tolerance. Local T cell immunity is an important compartment of the specific intestinal immune system. T cell reactivity is programmed during the initial stage of its activation by professional presenting cells. Mucosal dendritic cells (DCs) are assumed to play key roles in regulating immune responses in the antigen-rich gastrointestinal environment. Mucosal DCs are a heterogeneous population that can either initiate (innate and adaptive) immune responses, or control intestinal inflammation and maintain tolerance. Defects in this regulation are supposed to lead to the two major forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). This review will discuss the emerging role of mucosal DCs in regulating intestinal inflammation and immune responses.

Keywords: Dendritic cells, Commensal, Inflammatory bowel disease, Mucosal immunity, Host defence