The role of enteric glia in intestinal immunity.
Progatzky F., Pachnis V.
The nervous system and immune system are important interfaces of the gastrointestinal tract that sense, integrate and respond to environmental stimuli and challenges. Enteric glial cells (EGCs), the non-neuronal cells of the enteric nervous system, were long considered mere bystanders only providing support for their workhorse neuronal neighbours. However, work by many groups has demonstrated that EGCs are important nodes in the intestinal tissue circuitry that regulate gastrointestinal barrier function, immunity, host defence and tissue repair. More recent studies have also begun to uncover the cellular interactions and molecular mechanisms that underpin the important functions of EGCs in intestinal physiology and pathophysiology. Here, we review recent literature investigating the roles of EGCs in intestinal immunity and tissue homeostasis.