Tight junctions, leaky intestines, and pediatric diseases

Acta Paediatr. 2005 Apr;94(4):386-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2005.tb01904.x.


Background: Tight junctions (TJs) represent the major barrier within the paracellular pathway between intestinal epithelial cells. Disruption of TJs leads to intestinal hyperpermeability (the so-called "leaky gut") and is implicated in the pathogenesis of several acute and chronic pediatric disease entities that are likely to have their origin during infancy.

Aim: This review provides an overview of evidence for the role of TJ breakdown in diseases such as systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, allergies, asthma, and autism.

Conclusion: A better basic understanding of this structure might lead to prevention or treatment of these diseases using nutritional or other means.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Celiac Disease / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / physiopathology
  • Intercellular Junctions / physiology*
  • Intestines / cytology*
  • Intestines / physiopathology