Preface to the Third Edition

Mucosal immunology has grown in the last decade from a discipline of perhaps peripheral interest to the mainstream immunologist into a major subspecialty with implications for the physiology of the entire immune system. An enormous and highly variable load of foreign substances, which includes indigenous mucosal microbiota as well as environmental and food antigens encountered mainly at the vast surface areas of mucosal membranes, has resulted during evolution in a strategic distribution of specialized cells involved in the uptake, processing, and presentation of antigens, the production of antibodies, and cell-mediated immunity at the front line of host defense. Furthermore, the great majority of infectious diseases and potential agents of bioter-rorism directly afflicts or is acquired through the mucosal surfaces of the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary tracts. In addition to the induction of protective responses to infectious agents, the unique immunoregulatory mechanisms involved in the parallel induction of mucosal tolerance efficiently prevent the overstimulation of the systemic compartment of the immune system. Exploitation of the principles of mucosal immunology has not only had a profound impact on theoretical immunology, but has also captured the attention of investigators working in applied fields including autoimmunity, allergy, infectious diseases of gastrointestinal and respiratory tract, sexually transmitted diseases, human immunodeficiency virus infections, and the development of vaccines for human and veterinary medicine. The publication of three editions of Mucosal Immunology within 10 years reflects the impressive expansion of new information and the impact the discipline has had on basic immunologic principles and their practical implications. Thus, the third updated and expanded edition of Mucosal Immunology will provide essential information and an invalu able source of inspiration for investigators in this field as well as related research endeavors.

The foundations of modern mucosal immunology were laid in the early 1960s. The authors of the chapters in this volume have been important contributors and witnesses of the remarkable progress in mucosal immunology. We hope that their unique insights, together with the enthusiasm of younger colleagues of the next generation, have resulted in a volume that provides inspiration and broadens the application of the principles of mucosal immunology to other biomedical disciplines.

The assembly of a volume of this size and scope required dedicated effort of many individuals who provided invaluable contributions at various stages of production. The editors of the third edition of Mucosal Immunology would like to thank the founding editor, Dr. Pearay L. Ogra, for his leadership in the first and second editions; therefore, we dedicate this book to him. We also thank the authors of the individual chapters for their excellent contributions and cooperation. We gratefully acknowledge the efforts of our administrative coworkers, namely, Maria D. Crenshaw, Lydia Lopez, Sandra Martinez, Sheila D. Turner, Kelly R. Stinson, and Susan Brill, for their contributions in the completion and assembly of this book. Finally, we thank Margaret MacDonald and Victoria Lebedeva of Elsevier for their exemplary dedication, invaluable help, and deeply appreciated patience.

Jiri Mestecky John Bienenstock Michael E. Lamm Lloyd Mayer Jerry R. McGhee Warren Strober

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