Innate and adaptive immunity in necrotizing enterocolitis

Madison A. Mara, Misty Good, Joern Hendrik Weitkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the most frequent and devastating gastrointestinal disease of premature infants. Although the precise mechanisms are not fully understood, NEC is thought to develop following a combination of prematurity, formula feeding, and adverse microbial colonization. Within the last decade, studies increasingly support an important role of a heightened mucosal immune response initiating a pro-inflammatory signaling cascade, which can lead to the disruption of the intestinal epithelium and translocation of pathogenic species. In this review, we first describe the cellular composition of the intestinal epithelium and its critical role in maintaining epithelial integrity. We then discuss cell signaling during NEC, specifically, toll-like receptors and nucleotide oligomerization domain-like receptors. We further review cytokines and cellular components that characterize the innate and adaptive immune systems and how they interact to support or modulate NEC development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-399
Number of pages6
JournalSeminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Adaptive immunity
  • Innate immunity
  • Intestinal epithelium
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Prematurity
  • T lymphocytes
  • Toll-like receptors


Dive into the research topics of 'Innate and adaptive immunity in necrotizing enterocolitis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this