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Trends Mol Med. 2011 Nov;17(11):668-76. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2011.07.002. Epub 2011 Sep 2.

Balancing acts: the role of TGF-β in the mucosal immune system.

Author information

1
Mucosal Immunology Section, OIIB, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20982, USA.

Abstract

The gastrointestinal mucosal immune system faces unique challenges in dealing not only with fed antigens but also both commensal and pathogenic bacteria. It is tasked with digesting, transporting and using nutritional antigens while protecting the host from pathogenic organisms. As such, mechanisms that mediate effective immunity and immune tolerance are active within the gut environment. To accomplish this, the mucosal immune system has evolved sophisticated mechanisms that safeguard the integrity of the mucosal barrier. Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) emerges as a key mediator, balancing the tolerogenic and immunogenic forces at play in the gut. In this review, we discuss the role of TGF-β in the generation and functioning of gut lymphocyte populations. We highlight recent findings, summarize controversies, outline remaining questions and provide our personal perspectives.

PMID:
21890412
PMCID:
PMC3205325
DOI:
10.1016/j.molmed.2011.07.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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