Anatomy and Physiology

  • Tanja KuehbacherEmail author


Understanding the structures and the function of the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) in healthy individuals is the premises to understand malfunctions and diseases. It enables to explain difficult and complex interactions and modern therapeutic regimens. The GI tract consists of several organs, and the main tasks are the digestion, decontamination of food and environmental elements and most importantly the immunity. In a complex interaction with innate and adaptive immunity and, a lot of key factors like the microbiota, the intestinal immune system enables the human individuum to live in an often hostile environment. It makes it possible for an individuum to recognize and memorize protective or harmful agents and to start defensive mechanisms. Dysbalances lead to defects with malfunctions and diseases. The aetiology of these defects is in most diseases not well understood. Underlying genetic causes and environmental triggers can lead to immunological and microbiota dysbalances.


Mucosa Intestinal immune system Innate immunity Adaptive immunity B-cells T-cells Microbiota Paneth cells Small intestine Colon Digestion 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GastroenterologyAsklepios Westklinikum HamburgHamburgGermany

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