CC chemokine receptor 6 (CCR6) and its specific partner CC chemokine ligand 20 (CCL20) are known to play a pivotal role in intestinal inflammation. CCR6-associated inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is already at the forefront of experimental inflammatory disease models, being the subject of numerous analytical studies. IBD is associated with two sub phenotypes, Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Both these disease entities produce potent immune dysregulation followed by intense tissue damage within the gut mucosal system, initiating symptoms that are severely debilitating. Multiple causative factors are said to be responsible for IBD, but direct immune dysfunction is kindled by overplay of innate and adaptive immune responses produced against the luminal contents through the weakened or leaky gut epithelial barrier. Once immune homeostasis is not achieved by endogenous protective mechanisms, the self-assertive adaptive immunity mobilizes its various T and B cell cohorts, initializing their immune mechanisms by deploying the immune cells towards the site of infection. CCR6 and its unique solitary ligand CCL20 are small protein molecules that are abundantly expressed by T and B lymphocytes and act as chemotactic immune-modulatory envoys that help in the deployment of the effector lymphocyte arm of the immune system and produce two directly opposing outcomes in IBD. This dichotomous immunity consists of either immune tolerance or inflammation which then develops into a chronic state, remaining unresponsive to inherent immunity or targeted clinical therapy. In this review, we have identified large numbers of experimental studies that have employed both mouse models and clinical subjects spanning a period of nearly two decades and we have clustered these into 13 different groups. This review will provide greater understanding of the CCR6–CCL20 axis in IBD and identify gaps in the literature that can be filled in the future.
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