The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of vertebrates is composed of several distinct
and glands as well as an extensive mucosal surface. Its primary function is that
of chemical and physical digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients; however, due to its
continual antigen exposure, the GIT also has an important defensive immunological function.
The GIT’s immunological participation is facilitated by the mucosa-associated lymphoid tissues,
thought to share the mucosal immunological system with the respiratory mucosa-associated
lymphoid tissues. As a result of this shared mucosal immunity, it has been hypothesized that
bronchial asthma may be able to affect the body’s GIT in the same pathophysiological manner as
the airways and lungs. Here we discuss the link between bronchial asthma and pathophysiological
features in the GIT – including leukocyte influx, goblet cell alterations, fibrosis, and epithelial
and villous atrophy.