about Your Intestinal Barrier HEalth
The intestinal mucosal barrier also referred to as intestinal barrier, refers to the property of the intestinal mucosa that ensures adequate containment of undesirable luminal contents within the intestine while preserving the ability to absorb nutrients. The mucosal barrier provides a boundary between our intestines and the rest of our body and prevents the uncontrolled translocation of luminal contents into our body. Its role is to protect other organs, tissues, and our circulatory system from exposure to pro inflammatory molecules, such as unwanted microorganisms (probiotic or opportunistic), toxins, and antigens and is vital for the viability of our health and well-being.
Mucosal surfaces are lined by epithelial cells. These cells establish a barrier to protect from both outside exposure and to protect what is inside as well from being released. For example, you would not want severe inflammation to occur in your intestinal mucosal barrier. Because if the inflammation is severe enough, microbes, immune cells, antigens, and food can leak into the bloodstream and into surrounding tissue causing sepsis and massive inflammation.
However, mucosae are also responsible for nutrient absorption and waste secretion, which require a selectively permeable barrier. These functions place the mucosal epithelium at the center of interactions between the mucosal immune system and luminal contents, including dietary antigens and microbial products. Finally, when you have a breakdown or inflammation of the mucosal barrier, the condition is known as “leaky gut” occurs, which can lead to many different diseases.
Function of Intestinal Mucosal Barrier
- Mucosal barrier function consists of the combined effects of multiple extracellular and cellular processes that may be disrupted globally or in a targeted manner by physiological and pathophysiological stimuli. In the presence of an intact epithelium, mucosal permeability is primarily determined by tight junction barrier function.
- Intestinal epithelial cells mediate interactions between the mucosal immune system and luminal materials. The mechanisms by which these epithelia regulate and, conversely, are regulated by the immune system are, therefore, of crucial importance to mucosal homeostasis and disease.
- Increased intestinal permeability is associated with inflammatory bowel disease but can also be present in healthy individuals. Mouse models confirm that intestinal barrier dysregulation alone is insufficient to cause disease, but they also show that enhanced tight junction permeability can accelerate disease onset and increase severity.
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