The proper delivery of immune cells throughout the host's various tissues and organs is essential to health, and abnormalities in the type and quantity of leukocyte distribution is usually associated with disease. Because of its size and presence of a very large amount of immunocytes in the mucosa and mesenteric lymph nodes, the gut is the recipient of a constant influx of leukocytes, a process tightly regulated by multiple factors. These include cell adhesion molecules on the leukocytes and their counter-receptors on the microvascular endothelial cells in the bowel wall, a number of chemokines and cytokines that help attracting immune cells, platelets, bacterial products, danger signals, the size of the vascular and lymphatic beds and the process of leukocyte exit and circulation in the blood and lymphatic fluid. The disruption of any of the above regulatory mechanism can lead to inflammation, as is the case for inflammatory bowel disease. Learning how leukocyte and endothelial cells mutually function in health and what goes wrong in inflammation offers the opportunity to intervene therapeutically and re-establish the normal crosstalk between leukocytes and endothelial cells. (C) 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel
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