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Minerva Biotecnologica 2019 September;31(3):83-92

DOI: 10.23736/S1120-4826.19.02554-0

Copyright © 2019 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Physiopathology of intestinal barrier and the role of zonulin

Gian Paolo CAVIGLIA 1 , Chiara ROSSO 1, Davide G. RIBALDONE 2, Francesca DUGHERA 1, Sharmila FAGOONEE 3, Marco ASTEGIANO 4, Rinaldo PELLICANO 4

1 Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy; 2 Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy; 3 Institute for Biostructure and Bioimaging, National Research Council (CNR), Molecular Biotechnology Center, Turin, Italy; 4 Unit of Gastroenterology, Molinette Hospital, Turin, Italy



The intestinal epithelium with its barrier function controls the antigen trafficking from the intestinal lumen to the submucosa. Zonulin, a precursor of haptoglobin-2, plays a key role in maintaining the homeostasis of the intestinal mucosa through the regulation of tight junctions, cell-cell junctions responsible of the influx of dietary and microbial antigens via paracellular route of intestinal absorption. Several studies have observed an association between zonulin levels and alteration of intestinal permeability. It is assumed that in genetically predisposed individuals, an altered intestinal permeability may induce an increased exposure to luminal antigens with consequent loss of immune tolerance, thus leading to the development and progression of various chronic inflammatory disorders. Here, we review the mechanism of intestinal permeability regulation by zonulin and the related pathophysiological implications.


KEY WORDS: Autoimmune diseases; Mucin-2; Zonulin; Microbiota

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