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IECs form a selective permeability barrier. The maintenance of this barrier is essential for proper growth, development, and disease prevention. Normally, the IEC acts as a barrier that prevents undesirable solutes, microorganisms, viruses, and luminal antigens from entering the body. Several elements that participate in the barrier function include the epithelial cells themselves along with tight junctions, adherens junctions, and luminal secretions.
In the course of various diseases, damage and impairment of the intestinal surface barrier are observed, which may lead to increased penetration and absorption of toxic and immunogenic factors into the body, leading to inflammation, runaway immune responses, and imbalance of host homeostasis. A variety of regulatory peptides, including growth factors and cytokines, regulate intestinal epithelial wound healing. Recent studies have found that new factors, including toll-like receptors (TLRs), regulatory peptides, special dietary factors, and some gastric protective agents, can also regulate intestinal epithelial wound repair. The activation of specific signaling pathways is also involved in intestinal epithelial wound healing.
Fig.1 Various factors and signaling pathways contribute to the process of wound healing of intestinal epithelial cells and intestinal mucosa. (Iizuka, 2011)
There are at least three different mechanisms by which continuity on the epithelial surface can be re-established. Firstly, epithelial cells adjacent to the injured surface migrate to the wound to cover the denuded area. This process, called epithelial restoration, does not require cell proliferation. Secondly, epithelial cell proliferation is necessary to replenish the reduced cell pool. Thirdly, the maturation and differentiation of undifferentiated epithelial cells are required to maintain the substantial functional activities of the mucosal epithelium.
Fig.2 Simplified model of repair of superficial epithelial cell injury in the intestine. (Dignass, 2001)
Wound healing of the intestinal epithelium is important to maintain an intact barrier and prevent intestinal diseases. The ability of epithelial cells to repair injured areas is critical to maintaining barrier integrity. The repair mechanism of intestinal epithelium can be studied by mimicking the in vivo environment. The in vitro wound healing assay the closing of a wound in a confluent layer of T84 cells is assessed microscopically and quantified in the function of time.
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For Research Use Only. Not intended for use in food manufacturing or medical procedures (diagnostics or therapeutics). Do Not Use in Humans.