Regulation of the mucosal immune response.

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  • 1 Department of Pediatrics, Sealy Center for Molecular Sciences, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston 77555-0366, USA.

Infectious diseases continue to exact an extensive toll on populations living closest to the equatorial regions of the globe. A substantial proportion of these infections gain access to the host via the mucosal tissues. Thus, the development of new vaccines that enhance mucosal immunity is considered to be of paramount importance in order to prevent or limit the impact of these infections. Mucosal immune responses must discriminate between commensal flora within the lumen and potential pathogens. These responses are highly adapted to induce protection without excessive amounts of inflammation. The balances that regulate mucosal immune and inflammatory responses have to be understood if effective mucosal immunity is to be induced through local immunization. This review will summarize some of the unique properties of mucosal immune responses and focus on recent advances that have significantly influenced our understanding of the regulation of immune and inflammatory responses following infection.

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