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The immune system must constantly monitor the gastrointestinal tract for the presence of pathogens while tolerating trillions of commensal microbiota. It is clear that intestinal microbiota actively modulate the immune system to maintain a mutually beneficial relation, but the mechanisms that maintain homeostasis are not fully understood. Recent advances have begun to shed light on the cellular and molecular factors involved, revealing that a range of microbiota derivatives can influence host immune functions by targeting various cell types, including intestinal epithelial cells, mononuclear phagocytes, innate lymphoid cells, and B and T lymphocytes. Here, we review these findings, highlighting open questions and important challenges to overcome in translating this knowledge into new therapies for intestinal and systemic immune disorders.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Immunol

Publication Date





507 - 517


commensals, immune regulation, microbiota, mucosal immunity, Animals, Cell Differentiation, Homeostasis, Humans, Immunity, Innate, Immunity, Mucosal, Immunoglobulin A, Secretory, Immunomodulation, Intestinal Mucosa, Intestines, Lymphocytes, Microbiota, Phagocytes, Signal Transduction