Mucosal Barrier Defects: What Have We Learned from Atopic Dermatitis, Asthma, and Allergic Rhinitis?

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Purpose of the Review

This review covers recent findings describing roles for tight junction proteins in the mucosal barrier and their dysfunction in atopic diseases.

Recent Findings

Mucosal barrier dysfunction is commonly associated with chronic inflammation. Changes in tight junction protein expression and localization can be indicators of disease progression in allergic rhinitis. In addition, alterations in tight junctions may have a role in the initial onset of asthma. Lastly, polymorphisms in tight junction genes can be early predictors for atopic dermatitis risk and severity.


Tight junctions play a vital role in maintenance of the epithelial barrier and are frequently disrupted in chronic inflammatory disease. Future study is warranted to evaluate novel targeted therapeutics that promote barrier function in the treatment of atopic disease.

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Fig. 1


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Correspondence to Joshua M. Levy.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Emory University Institutional Review Board (IRB00102406) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Otolaryngic Allergy

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Smith, P., Koval, M. & Levy, J.M. Mucosal Barrier Defects: What Have We Learned from Atopic Dermatitis, Asthma, and Allergic Rhinitis?. Curr Otorhinolaryngol Rep (2020).

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  • Tight junction
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Asthma
  • Claudin
  • Barrier function