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Abstract

The peritoneum is mainly protected by the innate immune system. This consists of mechanical clearance of the peritoneal cavity, activation of complement, and the actions of polymorphonuclear neutrophils and macrophages. The specific immune system, which is mediated by the activity of lymphocytes, provides a secondary amplification system that may be of great importance for patients with intraperitoneal sepsis. This review provides an overview of the relevant innate immune mechanisms and explores the possible role of peritoneum-associated lymphoid tissue.