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Interactions between commensal bacteria and the gut-associated immune system of the chicken

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 June 2008

Jennifer T. Brisbin
Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Joshua Gong
Guelph Food Research Center, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Shayan Sharif*
Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada
*Corresponding author. E-mail:


The chicken gut-associated lymphoid tissue is made up of a number of tissues and cells that are responsible for generating mucosal immune responses and maintaining intestinal homeostasis. The normal chicken microbiota also contributes to this via the ability to activate both innate defense mechanisms and adaptive immune responses. If left uncontrolled, immune activation in response to the normal microbiota would pose a risk of excessive inflammation and intestinal damage. Therefore, it is important that immune responses to the normal microbiota be under strict regulatory control. Through studies of mammals, it has been established that the mucosal immune system has specialized regulatory and anti-inflammatory mechanisms for eliminating or tolerating the normal microbiota. The mechanisms that exist in the chicken to control host responses to the normal microbiota, although assumed to be similar to that of mammals, have not yet been fully described. This review summarizes what is currently known about the host response to the intestinal microbiota, particularly in the chicken.

Review Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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