Regulation of the movement of solutes across tight junctions

Annu Rev Physiol. 1998;60:143-59. doi: 10.1146/annurev.physiol.60.1.143.


The intercellular tight junction is the rate-limiting barrier in the paracellular pathway for permeation by ions and larger solutes. A variety of widely used electrical and flux approaches are used in the analyses of solute permeation through this pathway; however, each has limitations in practice. It is now clear that solute permeation across tight junctions is dynamically regulated by intracellular events with a common effector mechanism apparently tied to the cytoskeleton. These pathways, which regulate tight junction solute permeability, are targets that produce epithelial barrier dysfunction in a variety of disease states. However, regulation of solute permeation across the junctional barrier may also represent a potential means to improve bioavailability of orally administered bioactive solutes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Cytoskeleton / chemistry
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Permeability
  • Tight Junctions / chemistry
  • Tight Junctions / metabolism
  • Tight Junctions / physiology*
  • Tight Junctions / ultrastructure