The Role of the Epithelial Barrier in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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The epithelial barrier protects the intestine from harmful antigens. The intestinal epithelial cell produces a wide array of molecules that play a role in initiating, maintaining, but also preventing and controlling mucosal inflammation. A defect in epithelial cell regulated barrier function may lead to continued exposure of intestinal immune cells to bacterially derived molecules leading to destructive intestinal inflammation that characterizes IBD.