Discrimination between beneficial commensal organisms and potentially harmful pathogens is a central component of the essential role that gut immune cells play in maintaining the balance between immune activation and tolerance. Antigen presenting cells (APC) are the key to this process, and the type of APC, including epithelial cells, B cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells (DC), in the gut is varied. The purpose of this review is to focus on the vast amount of data that has recently been generated on gastrointestinal dendritic cells in the context of their potential function and contribution to mucosal immunity, tolerance, and disease.
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