Immune system responses can occur at mucosal membranes of the intestines (gut mucosa), the urogenital tract (male and female genital mucosa) and the respiratory system, i.e., surfaces that are in contact with the external environment. Mucosal immunity appears to play a key role in controlling disease.
Mucosal immunity also defends the ocular surface against antigenic challenge and microbial invasion. Therapeutic approaches and application of supplements are essential for treating dry-eye conditions to elicit protective ocular mucosal immune responses.
The mucosal immune system serves as the body’s first line defense from antigens and infection. In normal, healthy state, the mucosal immune system provides protection against pathogens.
The mucosal membranes are the primary contact point between a host and its environment, therefore a large amount of secondary lymphoid tissue is found here.
Mucosal immunity has become the subject of extensive research. Researches have shown that considerable traffic of cells occurs between mucosal epithelia and secretory or lymphoid tissue sites. Research data support the concept of a general system of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT), which includes the gut, lung, mammary gland, salivary and lacrimal glands, and the genital tract. Through the immune response of MALT, a reaction to an immunogen at a mucosal site may be an effective means of producing immunity at distant sites.
ScienceDirect Journals & Books. Mucosal Immunity