Eutamene, Beaufrand Harkat C, Theodorou V.
The intestinal barrier controls the absorption of nutrients and water whilst helping to prevent the entry of toxins and pathogenic micro-organisms from the lumen into the tissues. Deficiencies in the barrier are associated with various gastrointestinal and extra digestive disorders.
This review provides an overview of the relationship between increased intestinal permeability and disease, and considers the role of mucosal protectants (mucoprotectants) in restoring normal intestinal barrier function, with a particular focus on diarrheal disorders.
Impairment of the intestinal barrier characterizes a variety of diseases, and there is ongoing interest in the development of pharmacological approaches targeting the reduction of intestinal permeability. These include corticosteroids, aminosalicylates and anti-tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), which act by reducing inflammation; probiotics, which modulate the production of mucin and epithelial tight junction proteins; and mucoprotectants, which form a protective film over the epithelium. Recently, preclinical and clinical data highlight, the ability of new mucoprotectants, such as gelatin tannate and xyloglucan, to protect the intestinal mucosa and to exert anti-diarrheal effects. In the future the ability of these substances to enhance the intestinal barrier may extend their use in the management of a variety of gastro-intestinal diseases associated with ‘leaky gut’.
KEYWORDS: Gelatin tannate, intestinal barrier, mucoprotectant, mucosal protectors, tight junctions, xyloglucan
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