8 Scopus citations


The gastrointestinal tract performs opposing functions of nutrient absorption, barrier maintenance, and the delivery of luminal substances for the appropriate induction of tolerogenic or protective adaptive immunity. The single-layer epithelium lining the gastrointestinal tract is central to each of these functions by facilitating the uptake and processing of nutrients, providing a physical and chemical barrier to potential pathogens, and delivering macromolecular substances to the immune system to initiate adaptive immune responses. Specific transport mechanisms allow nutrient uptake and the delivery of macromolecules to the immune system while maintaining the epithelial barrier. This review examines historical observations supporting macromolecular transport by the intestinal epithelium, recent insights into the transport of luminal macromolecules to promote adaptive immunity, and how this process is regulated to promote appropriate immune responses. Understanding how luminal macromolecules are delivered to the immune system and how this is regulated may provide insight into the pathophysiology of inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and potential preventative or therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-737
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019


  • Antigen Transport
  • Goblet Cells
  • Mucosal Tolerance


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