Epithelial Barrier Theory

Yazici, D., Ogulur, I., Kucukkase, O. et al. Allergo J Int 31, 91–102 (2022). hMps://doi.org/10.1007/s40629-022-00211-y

The “epithelial barrier hypothesis” proposes that genetic predisposition to epithelial barrier damage, exposure to various epithelial barrier–damaging agents and chronic periepithelial inflammation are responsible for the development of allergic and autoimmune diseases. Particularly, the introduction of more than 200,000 new chemicals to our daily lives since the 1960s has played a major role in the pandemic increase of these diseases. The epithelial barrier constitutes the first line of physical, chemical, and immunological defence against external factors. A leaky epithelial barrier initiates the translocation of the microbiome from the surface of affected tissues to interepithelial and even deeper subepithelial areas. In tissues with a defective epithelial barrier, colonization of opportunistic pathogens, decreased microbiota biodiversity, local inflammation, and impaired regeneration and remodelling takes place. A dysregulated immune response against commensals and opportunistic pathogens starts. Migration of inflammatory cells to other tissues and their contribution to tissue injury and inflammation in the affected tissues are key events in the development and exacerbation of many chronic inflammatory diseases. Understanding the underlying factors that affect the integrity of epithelial barriers is essential to find preventive measures or effective treatments to restore its function. The aim of this review is to assess the origins of allergic and autoimmune diseases within the framework of the epithelial barrier hypothesis. Read more.