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a very general term for any cell type that plays a prominent role in host defense by sensing and monitoring the presence of foreign antigens. Processing of these antigens and recognition by appropriate immune effector cells such as B-cells and T-cells eventually initiates humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. The term thus comprises specialized cell types such as antigen-presenting cells, macrophages, mast cells, dendritic cells, Langerhans cells and others and also includes specialized T-cell populations. The term may include also fibroblasts, epithelial cells (for example, mesothelial cells) and other cell types that may not primarily process and present antigens to other immune cells. Such cells are important for innate immunity because they can release different patterns of chemokines and cytokines that attract inflammatory cells and immune cells able to trigger immune responses.
The term sentinel cells has been used also for a variety of neurocrine and endocrine cell types that maintain homeostasis in different biological systems (e. g., glucose homeostasis).
For other related/relevant entries see also: Cell types. For other proteins/peptides with functions in innate immunity and/or antimicrobial activities see also: Innate immunity defense peptides Dictionary.
Copyright © 2012 by H IBELGAUFTS. All rights reserved.
ENTRY LAST MODIFIED: June 2009
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