Gastrointestinal Immunology

The gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) plays dual roles in human physiology: digestion and uptake of nutrients and the more daunting task of maintaining immune homeostasis (protecting the body from potentially harmful microbes, while inducing tolerogenic responses to innocuous food, commensals and self-antigens). The unique architecture of the GI tract and viral hepatitis facilitates both of these functions; multiple levels of infolding results in an immense overall surface area that allows maximal nutrient absorption while housing the largest number of immune cells in the body. As many pathogens enter the body via the intestinal mucosa, it is vital the gut-associated lymphoid tissues can provide effective immune responses when necessary

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