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Intestinal Goblet Cells
Immune cells in the intestine turn away harmful bacteria but allow vitamins and nutrients to pass. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis identified the cells that chaperone food antigens, or proteins, in the intestine so that the immune system doesn’t mount an attack.
Goblet cells that line the intestine may be a potential target for therapies against inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease and food allergies — disorders caused by an overactive immune system. Above, a sugar antigen ingested by a mouse fills a goblet cell (red) in the intestine, which delivers the antigen to a dendritic cell (green). Dendritic cells use the antigens to educate the immune system to recognize food antigens as harmless rather than as infectious agents. (Credit: Washington University School of Medicine)