Autophagy: roles in intestinal mucosal homeostasis and inflammation
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The intestinal mucosa is a site of multiple stressors and forms the barrier between the internal and external environment. In the intestine, a complex interplay between the microbiota, epithelial barrier and the local immune system maintains homeostasis and promotes a healthy gut. One of the major cellular catabolic processes that regulate this homeostasis is autophagy. Autophagy is required to maintain anti-microbial defense, epithelial barrier integrity and mucosal immune response. Dysregulation of the autophagy process causes disruption of several aspects of the intestinal epithelium and the immune system that can lead to an inappropriate immune response and subsequent inflammation. Genome-wide association studies have found an association between several risk loci in autophagy genes and inflammatory bowel disease. The aim of the current review is to provide an update on the role of autophagy in intestinal mucosal physiology and in the control of inappropriate inflammation.
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