Immunophysiology of the gut: A research frontier for integrative studies of the common mucosal immune system

G. A. Castro, C. J. Arntzen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


This review highlights work that, within the past decade, transformed mucosal immunophysiology from a hypothetical concept to a fully recognized interdiscipline. The regulation of epithelial and smooth muscle functions by the mucosal immune system represents an exquisitely sensitive adaptation to local antigenic challenge. Furthermore, immunologic cells communicate with nerves via paracrine secretions to rapidly transduce antigenic signals into panmucosal changes in function. These local immunocyte-nerve interactions are modulated by the autonomic and central nervous systems. Because of the common mucosal immune system, antigen-induced changes similar to those occurring in the intestine and colon are predicted to occur in mucosa of all hollow organs. The drawing together of fields as diverse as medicine and agriculture underscores the scope of areas encompassed by immunophysiology. Newly acquired knowledge has positioned the field to advance rapidly in both basic and applied directions. Forces that will remodel the field in the next decade will be derived from public concerns about human health maintenance and the explosive and novel use of new research tools stemming from molecular biology. These forces will draw on and advance our knowledge in areas as diverse as vaccine development and prevention of allergic reactions to foods, bioengineered foods in particular.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G599-G610
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number4 28-4
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • food allergens
  • immunocytes
  • vaccine development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Immunophysiology of the gut: A research frontier for integrative studies of the common mucosal immune system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this