The Role of Allergen Uptake From the Gastrointestinal Tract in Allergy
A summary is presented on the role of the intestine in controlling uptake of bacterial breakdown products, endotoxins, enzyme and ingested antigens i.e., macromolecules. The mature gut retains the capacity to absorb macromolecules by an energy-dependent, pinocytotic mechanism similar to that described for the transport of α-globulins in certain mammalian species in the neonatal state. The vast majority of adults show no ill effects as a result of this physiological phenomenon. However, when increased (pathologic) quantities of toxic or antigenic macromolecules gain access to the body because of a derangement in the intraluminal digestive process or because of a defect in the mucosal barrier, macromolecular absorption may be altered and result in either local intestinal or systemic disorders. The speculative concepts suggesting that clinical disease states may be associated with altered mucosal permeability have been discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Harvard Medical School; Combined Program in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Massachusetts General Hospital and Children's Hospital, Boston, MA
Publication date: 1984-06-01
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