"For whom the bell tolls!" - Innate defense mechanisms and survival strategies of the intestinal epithelium against lumenal pathogens

Elke Cario, G. Gerken, D. K. Podolsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

33 Scopus citations


The intestinal epithelium serves as an essential defensive barrier of the mucosal immune system that forms a bipolar interface between the diverse populations of microbes of the lumen and subjacent immune cells present in the lamina propria. Intestinal epithelial cells express various pattern recognition receptors - poised to recognize microbial "pathogen-associated molecular patterns" as "non-self" and to rapidly initiate innate immune responses of survival and active defense strategies against lumenal pathogens. Current understanding of the variety of innate immune features present in intestinal epithelium to maintain homeostasis is summarized and the mechanisms through which dysregulation may play a central role in initiation and perpetuation of inflammatory bowel disease are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)983-990
Number of pages8
JournalZeitschrift fur Gastroenterologie
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002



  • Apoptosis
  • Host defense
  • Innate immunity
  • Intestinal epithelium
  • Mucosa
  • Nods
  • Toll-like receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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