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TIMELINE

To respond or not to respond — a personal perspective of intestinal tolerance

A Correction to this article was published on 22 June 2018

This article has been updated

Abstract

For many years, the intestine was one of the poor relations of the immunology world, being a realm inhabited mostly by specialists and those interested in unusual phenomena. However, this has changed dramatically in recent years with the realization of how important the microbiota is in shaping immune function throughout the body, and almost every major immunology institution now includes the intestine as an area of interest. One of the most important aspects of the intestinal immune system is how it discriminates carefully between harmless and harmful antigens, in particular, its ability to generate active tolerance to materials such as commensal bacteria and food proteins. This phenomenon has been recognized for more than 100 years, and it is essential for preventing inflammatory disease in the intestine, but its basis remains enigmatic. Here, I discuss the progress that has been made in understanding oral tolerance during my 40 years in the field and highlight the topics that will be the focus of future research.

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Fig. 1: Timeline of key events in intestinal tolerance.
Fig. 2: Induction and maintenance of oral tolerance.
Fig. 3: Models of antigen delivery for the induction of oral tolerance.

Change history

  • 22 June 2018

    In the originally published article, several references referring to the Timeline figure were missing or incorrect. This mistake has now been corrected and the publisher apologizes for this error.

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Mowat, A.M. To respond or not to respond — a personal perspective of intestinal tolerance. Nat Rev Immunol 18, 405–415 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41577-018-0002-x

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