The functions of mucosal T cells in containing the indigenous commensal flora of the intestine

A. J. Macpherson, M. M. Martinic, N. Harris

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56 Citations (Scopus)


There is an immense load of non-pathogenic commensal bacteria in the distal small intestine and the colon of mammals. The physical barrier that prevents penetration (translocation) of these organisms into the body is a simple epithelium comprised of the single enterocyte/colonocyte cell layer with its overlying mucus. In this review, we discuss the roles of intestinal T cells in initiating and regulating innate and adaptive mucosal immune responses of the mucosal immune system that avoid or limit penetration of the commensal intestinal bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2088-2096
Number of pages9
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Commensal bacteria
  • IgA
  • Intestinal mucosa
  • Intraepithelial lymphocyte
  • Lamina propria lymphocyte
  • Macrophage

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