Dendritic cells (DCs) are specialized antigen-presenting cells that orchestrate innate and adaptive immune responses. The intestinal mucosa contains numerous DCs that are highly specialized in function. Mucosal DCs display a unique response to toll-like receptor ligands, are capable of driving immunoglobulin isotype switching to IgA, can imprint gut-homing receptors on T and B cells, and drive either T regulatory or Th17 cells depending on the analyzed subtype. These functions are partly cell autonomous and partly conferred by the local microenvironment. In this review, we will summarize the different DC subtypes present in the intestine and in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), the unique characteristics of these subtypes, and how the local microenvironment can shape DC function.
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