The mucosal system is the first line of defense against many pathogens. It is continuously exposed to dietary and microbial antigens, and thus the host must maintain a homeostatic environment between commensal microbiota and pathogenic infections. Following infections and inflammatory events, a rapid innate immune response is evoked to dampen the inflammatory processes. Type I interferons, a family of pleiotropic cytokines and major products of the innate immune response, have a key role in these early immune events at the mucosa, as reviewed here. With the emergence of new discoveries of immune cell types in mucosal tissues and their reactions to commensal and pathogenic organisms, we also review the opportunities for exciting research in this field.
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