Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Immune cell trafficking and retention in inflammatory bowel disease: mechanistic insights and therapeutic advances
  1. Sebastian Zundler,
  2. Emily Becker,
  3. Lisa Lou Schulze,
  4. Markus F Neurath
  1. Department of Medicine 1, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg, Kussmaul Campus for Medical Research & Translational Research Center, Erlangen, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Prof Markus F Neurath, Department of Medicine 1, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg, Ulmenweg 18, Erlangen 91054, Germany; markus.neurath{at}


Intestinal immune cell trafficking has been identified as a central event in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Intensive research on different aspects of the immune mechanisms controlling and controlled by T cell trafficking and retention has led to the approval of the anti-α4β7 antibody vedolizumab, the ongoing development of a number of further anti-trafficking agents (ATAs) such as the anti-β7 antibody etrolizumab or the anti-MAdCAM-1 antibody ontamalimab and the identification of potential future targets like G-protein coupled receptor 15. However, several aspects of the biology of immune cell trafficking and regarding the mechanism of action of ATAs are still unclear, for example, which impact these compounds have on the trafficking of non-lymphocyte populations like monocytes and how precisely these therapies differ with regard to their effect on immune cell subpopulations. This review will summarise recent advances of basic science in the field of intestinal immune cell trafficking and discuss these findings with regard to different pharmacological approaches from a translational perspective.

  • Crohn’s disease
  • ulcerative colitis
  • cell adhesion
  • integrins
  • inflammatory bowel disease

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors SZ, EB, LLS and MFN jointly wrote the manuscript and approved its final version.

  • Funding This study was supported by Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research (IZKF) (J63) and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (TRR 241/C04, ZU 377/3-1).

  • Competing interests MFN has served as an advisor for Pentax, Giuliani, MSD, Abbvie, Janssen, Takeda and Boehringer. SZ, MFN received research support from Takeda, Hoffmann-La Roche and Shire.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.