Intestinal barrier function in health and gastrointestinal disease

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2012 Jun;24(6):503-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2012.01921.x.


Defects in intestinal barrier function are associated with diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. There is growing evidence that increases in intestinal permeability plays a pathogenic role in diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and celiac disease, and functional bowel disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This review takes a unique translational approach to discuss the physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of intestinal barrier function in IBS. The review summarizes the components of the intestinal barrier including the tight junction complex within the epithelium, and the methods used to assess gut permeability both in vitro and in vivo. Throughout the review, the authors have attempted to critically review the latest research from both experimental animal models and human studies to appraise whether intestinal barrier dysfunction is a primary cause of functional GI disorders, such as IBS.…

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases / pathology
  • Intestinal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / physiology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / physiopathology
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Intestines / physiology*
  • Intestines / physiopathology
  • Tight Junctions / pathology
  • Tight Junctions / physiology