Microbiome and Gut Immunity: The Epithelium

  • Claudia GüntherEmail author


The intestinal epithelium not only plays a fundamental role in negotiating a homeostatic host-microbial relation but also represents the first line of defense against pathogenic microbes and microbial agents. As a consequence intestinal epithelial cells have developed a variety of mechanisms to respond to commensal and non-commensal microbes. Accordingly intestinal epithelial cells can physically restrict the translocation of potentially harmful microorganisms from the intestinal tract into the surrounding tissue by providing a physical barrier but also release antimicrobial peptides and mucus that control microbial composition and location. Despite its barrier function, the intestinal epithelium has an important function in translating luminal signals from the barrier surface to the underlying mucosal immune system. Defects in one of these functions can have tremendous effects on intestinal homeostasis and have been identified as key factors in the pathogenesis of intestinal inflammation. In this chapter we will discuss the role of the intestinal epithelium during host-microbe interactions.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kussmaul Campus für Medizinische Forschung, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen – Medizinische Klinik IErlangenGermany

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