Antigen sampling in the fish intestine

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Abstract

Antigen uptake in the gastrointestinal tract may induce tolerance, lead to an immune response and also to infection. In mammals, most pathogens gain access to the host though the gastrointestinal tract, and in fish as well, this route seems to be of significant importance. The epithelial surface faces a considerable challenge, functioning both as a barrier towards the external milieu but simultaneously being the site of absorption of nutrients and fluids. The mechanisms allowing antigen uptake over the epithelial barrier play a central role for maintaining the intestinal homeostasis and regulate appropriate immune responses. Such uptake has been widely studied in mammals, but also in fish, a number of experiments have been reported, seeking to reveal cells and mechanisms involved in antigen sampling. In this paper, we review these studies in addition to addressing our current knowledge of the intestinal barrier in fish and its anatomical construction.

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