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Yakugaku Zasshi. 2014;134(5):641-5.

[The new era of epithelium-targeted drug development].

[Article in Japanese]

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  • 1Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Osaka University.


Epithelium plays pivotal roles in biological barrier separating the inside of body and the outside environment. Ninety percent of malignant tumors are derived from epithelium. Most pathological microorganisms invade into the body from mucosal epithelium. Thus, epithelium is potential targets for drug development. Claudins (CLs), a family of tetra-transmembrane protein consisting of over 20 members, are structural and functional components of tight junction-seals in epithelium. Modulation of CL-seals enhanced mucosal absorption of drugs. CLs are often over-expressed in malignant tumors. CL-4 expression is increased in the epithelial cells covering the mucosal immune tissues. Very recently, CLs are also expected to be targets for traumatic brain injury and regenerative therapy. In this review, we overview the past, the present and the future of CLs-targeted drug development.

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