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Tissue Barriers. 2013 Jul 1;1(3):e24978. doi: 10.4161/tisb.24978. Epub 2013 May 30.

Claudins in intestines: Distribution and functional significance in health and diseases.

Author information

1
Department of Basic Medicine; Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou, PR China ; Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology; Brody School of Medicine; East Carolina University; Greenville, NC USA.
2
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology; Brody School of Medicine; East Carolina University; Greenville, NC USA ; Department of Oncology; Beijing Shijitan Hospital; Capital Medical University; Beijing, PR China.
3
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology; Brody School of Medicine; East Carolina University; Greenville, NC USA.

Abstract

Intestines are organs that not only digest food and absorb nutrients, but also provide a defense barrier against pathogens and noxious agents ingested. Tight junctions (TJs) are the most apical component of the junctional complex, providing one form of cell-cell adhesion in enterocytes and playing a critical role in regulating paracellular barrier permeability. Alteration of TJs leads to a number of pathophysiological diseases causing malabsorption of nutrition and intestinal structure disruption, which may even contribute to systemic organ failure. Claudins are the major structural and functional components of TJs with at least 24 members in mammals. Claudins have distinct charge-selectivity, either by tightening the paracellular pathway or functioning as paracellular channels, regulating ions and small molecules passing through the paracellular pathway. In this review, we have discussed the functions of claudin family members, their distribution and localization in the intestinal tract of mammals, their alterations in intestine-related diseases and chemicals/agents that regulate the expression and localization of claudins as well as the intestinal permeability, which provide a therapeutic view for treating intestinal diseases.

KEYWORDS:

claudins; endotoxin; epithelial cells; gastrointestinal tract; inflammatory bowel disease; intestinal barrier; paracellular permeability; tight junctions

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