Macrophage interactions with fungi and bacteria in inflammatory bowel disease

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Abstract

Purpose of review

In this review, we discuss recent advances into delineating the dual role of intestinal phagocytes in health and during intestinal disease. We further discuss the key role of gut-resident macrophages in recognition of bacterial and fungal microbiota in the gut.

Recent findings

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) commonly manifests with pathologic changes in the composition of gut bacterial and fungal microbiota. Intestinal macrophages are key regulators of the balance between tolerogenic immunity and inflammation. Recent studies have highlighted the role of resident intestinal macrophages in the control of commensal fungi and bacteria in the steady state and during dysbiosis. The dual role of these cells in maintaining intestinal homeostasis and responding to microbiota dysbiosis during inflammation is being increasingly studied.

Summary

It is becoming increasingly clear that an aberrant proinflammatory response to microbiota by infiltrating monocytes plays a role in the development of intestinal inflammation. Intestinal mononuclear phagocytes with characteristics of macrophages play an important role in limiting fungal and bacterial overgrowth under these conditions, but can be influenced by the inflammatory environment to further propel inflammation. Better understanding of the interaction of intestinal macrophages with host microbiota including commensal fungi and bacteria, provides an opportunity for the development of more targeted therapies for IBD.

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