Mucosal.docx

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In Allergology International (AI) Vol. 68, Issue 1, we feature a set of review articles entitled “New Trends in Mucosal Immunology and Allergy” as well as original articles and letters to the editor. We believe that this issue will greatly contribute to our readers' understanding of the current concepts of mucosal immunology and its relation to the induction and regulation of allergic diseases. The human body possesses multiple tube-like structures lined with mucosae, representing the largest surface area in the body. These include the oral and nasal cavities, respiratory and digestive tracts, ocular cavity, ear cavity, and genitourinary tract, together forming the interactive platform between the inner and outer environments. Because of its large surface area and continuous exposure to the outside environment, the mucosa of the aero-digestive tract is the major admittance route of most undesired antigens, such as allergens and pathogens, via inhalation and ingestion. 1 , 2 , 3 The host is equipped with a dynamic and flexible immunological barrier, known as the mucosal immune system, to distinguish between beneficial and harmful antigens, thus providing two distinct immunological conditions of symbiosis and elimination. 1 The mucosa of the aero-digestive tract has essential roles in the daily physiological functions of inhalation and ingestion and is integral to these basic life- supporting systems. These synchronized yet distinct biological roles—immunological as well as physiological machineries—are unique characteristics of the mucosae of the airway and digestive tracts. To provide a protective barrier at the mucosal surfaces, the innate and acquired immune systems need to operate harmoniously. Physical and chemical barriers—consisting of tight junctions and a dense layer of mucins, including antimicrobial peptides 1 , 4 —are crucial elements in the first line of defense, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 together with components of innate immunity, including Toll-like receptors 6 , 7 , 8 and innate immune cells (e.g., innate lymphoid cells, natural killer cells, natural killer T cells, mast cells, and eosinophils). 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 Integral to acquired immunity at the mucosal epithelium of the aero-digestive tract, secretory IgA (SIgA) antibodies are key humoral factors in preventing the entrance of unwanted pathogenic and allergic antigens. 13 , 14 , 15 In addition, these IgA antibodies are involved in creating symbiotic conditions for the commensal microbiota, thus contributing to the creation and maintenance of mucosal homeostasis in the harsh environment of the aero-digestive tract.
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  • Spring '16
  • prietmann

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