Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer).
The small intestine is located between the stomach and the large intestine and is composed of the duodenum, jejunum and ileum. The small intestine is the site of chemical digestion and absorption of nutrients and minerals from food.
The intestinal lymphatic vasculature has a range of functions, from maintenance of interstitial fluid balance to transport of antigens, cells, dietary lipids and fat-soluble vitamins. In this Review, Petrova and Bernier-Latmani provide an in-depth overview of intestinal lymphatics, including their roles in human diseases.
The intestinal epithelium acts as a barrier requiring a contiguous layer of cells and junctions that seal the paracellular space. This Review discusses the mechanisms of intestinal barrier loss and the role of epithelial barrier function in the pathogenesis of intestinal and systemic diseases.