The tight junction in inflammatory disease: communication breakdown

Karen L. Edelblum, Jerrold R. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


The intestinal epithelium restricts free passage of toxic and infectious molecules from the gut lumen while allowing selective paracellular absorption across the tight junction. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients demonstrate a loss of tight junction barrier function, increased pro-inflammatory cytokine production, and immune dysregulation; however, the relationship between these events is incompletely understood. Although tight junction barrier defects are insufficient to cause experimental IBD, mucosal immune activation is altered in response to increased epithelial permeability. Thus, an evolving model suggests that barrier dysfunction may predispose or enhance disease progression and therapies targeted to specifically restore the barrier function may provide an alternative or supplement to immunology-based therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-720
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery

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