Ayumi Fukuoka, Tomohiro Yoshimoto
Epithelial cells form the first physiological barrier against invasion by pathogens and the infiltration of allergens. Tight junctions (TJ), a cell-cell junctional complex located on the apical side of epithelial cells,have a critical role in the maintenance of epithelial barrier function. Impaired TJ structures are observed in patients with asthma, atopic dermatitis and nasal allergy; therefore, the dysfunction of epithelial barriers might be involved in the initiation or progression of allergic diseases. Protease-containing allergensand environmental pollutants enhance paracellular transport in epithelial cells through disruption of epithelial barrier function. This suggests that the disruption of TJ leads to the promotion of allergen delivery into the subepithelia, resulting in the progression of allergic diseases. Thus, protection of the epithelial barrier function might prevent or inhibit the development or exacerbation of allergic diseases. Recently, we reported that diesel exhaust particles (DEP), the main component of particulate matter 2.5, exacerbated allergic rhinitis (AR) in a mouse model through TJ disruption. In addition, we revealed that the oxidative stress-mediated pathway is involved in the effects caused by DEP and that nasal treatment with a reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger suppressed DEP-induced TJ disruption and exacerbation of AR. In this review, we focus on the relationship between TJ disruption and allergic disease. Furthermore, we discuss our recent findings regarding TJ disruption and the exacerbation of AR.
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