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World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Jan 21;14(3):401-7.

Role of the intestinal barrier in inflammatory bowel disease.

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1
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University, 615 Michael Street, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.

Abstract

A critical function of the intestinal mucosa is to form a barrier that separates luminal contents from the interstitium. The single layer of intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) serves as a dynamic interface between the host and its environment. Cell polarity and structural properties of the epithelium is complex and is important in the development of epithelial barrier function. Epithelial cells associate with each other via a series of intercellular junctions. The apical most intercellular junctional complex referred to as the Apical Junction Complex (AJC) is important in not only cell-cell recognition, but also in the regulation of paracellular movement of fluid and solutes. Defects in the intestinal epithelial barrier function have been observed in a number of intestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is now becoming evident that an aberrant epithelial barrier function plays a central role in the pathophysiology of IBD. Thus, a better understanding of the intestinal epithelial barrier structure and function in healthy and disease states such as IBD will foster new ideas for the development of therapies for such chronic disorders.

PMID:
18200662
PMCID:
PMC2679128
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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