Keep calm: the intestinal barrier at the interface of peace and war

Thoo, Lester; Noti, Mario; Krebs, Philippe (2019). Keep calm: the intestinal barrier at the interface of peace and war. Cell death & disease, 10(849), pp. 1-13. Springer Nature 10.1038/s41419-019-2086-z

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Epithelial barriers have to constantly cope with both harmless and harmful stimuli. The epithelial barrier therefore serves as a dynamic and not static wall to safeguard its proper physiological function while ensuring protection. This is achieved through multiple defence mechanisms involving various cell types - epithelial and non-epithelial - that work in an integrated manner to build protective barriers at mucosal sites. Damage may nevertheless occur, due to pathogens, physical insults or dysregulated immune responses, which trigger a physiologic acute or a pathologic chronic inflammatory cascade. Inflammation is often viewed as a pathological condition, particularly due to the increasing prevalence of chronic inflammatory (intestinal) diseases. However, inflammation is also necessary for wound healing. The aetiology of chronic inflammatory diseases is incompletely understood and identification of the underlying mechanisms would reveal additional therapeutic approaches. Resolution is an active host response to end ongoing inflammation but its relevance is under-appreciated. Currently, most therapies aim at dampening inflammation at damaged mucosal sites, yet these approaches do not efficiently shut down the inflammation process nor repair the epithelial barrier. Therefore, future treatment strategies should also promote the resolution phase. Yet, the task of repairing the barrier can be an arduous endeavour considering its multiple integrated layers of defence - which is advantageous for damage prevention but becomes challenging to repair at multiple levels. In this review, using the intestines as a model epithelial organ and barrier paradigm, we describe the consequences of chronic inflammation and highlight the importance of the mucosae to engage resolving processes to restore epithelial barrier integrity and function. We further discuss the contribution of pre-mRNA alternative splicing to barrier integrity and intestinal homeostasis. Following discussions on current open questions and challenges, we propose a model in which resolution of inflammation represents a key mechanism for the restoration of epithelial integrity and function.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Pathology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Pathology > Immunopathology

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Thoo, Lester; Noti, Mario and Krebs, Philippe


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Springer Nature




Philippe Krebs

Date Deposited:

21 Nov 2019 14:36

Last Modified:

11 Mar 2021 03:12

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Additional Information:

"Intestinal barrier function, inflammation and repair" is a running title




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