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Gut Microbes. 2010 Sep;1(5):316-324. Epub 2010 May 12.

Enteric pathogens and gut function: Role of cytokines and STATs.

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Department of Medicine; University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD USA.


The gut harbors the largest immune system in the body. The mucosa is considered to be the initial site of interaction with commensal and pathogenic organisms; therefore, it is the first line of defense against the pathogens. In response to the invasion of various pathogens, naïve CD4(+) cells differentiate into subsets of T helper (Th) cells that are characterized by different cytokine profiles. Cytokines bind to cell surface receptors on both immune and non-immune cells leading to activation of JAK-STAT signaling pathway and influence gut function by upregulating the expression of specific target genes. This review considers the roles of cytokines and receptor-mediated activation of STATs on pathogen-induced changes in gut function. The focus on STAT4 and STAT6 is because of their requirement for the full development of Th1 and Th2 cytokine profiles.

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