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Review

Probiotics, Prebiotics and Epithelial Tight Junctions: A Promising Approach to Modulate Intestinal Barrier Function

1
Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA
2
Laboratory of Developmental Nutrition, Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27607, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Miguel Gueimonde
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(13), 6729; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22136729
Received: 9 June 2021 / Revised: 19 June 2021 / Accepted: 21 June 2021 / Published: 23 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Bioactives and Nutraceuticals)
Disruptions in the intestinal epithelial barrier can result in devastating consequences and a multitude of disease syndromes, particularly among preterm neonates. The association between barrier dysfunction and intestinal dysbiosis suggests that the intestinal barrier function is interactive with specific gut commensals and pathogenic microbes. In vitro and in vivo studies demonstrate that probiotic supplementation promotes significant upregulation and relocalization of interepithelial tight junction proteins, which form the microscopic scaffolds of the intestinal barrier. Probiotics facilitate some of these effects through the ligand-mediated stimulation of several toll-like receptors that are expressed by the intestinal epithelium. In particular, bacterial-mediated stimulation of toll-like receptor-2 modulates the expression and localization of specific protein constituents of intestinal tight junctions. Given that ingested prebiotics are robust modulators of the intestinal microbiota, prebiotic supplementation has been similarly investigated as a potential, indirect mechanism of barrier preservation. Emerging evidence suggests that prebiotics may additionally exert a direct effect on intestinal barrier function through mechanisms independent of the gut microbiota. In this review, we summarize current views on the effects of pro- and prebiotics on the intestinal epithelial barrier as well as on non-epithelial cell barrier constituents, such as the enteric glial cell network. Through continued investigation of these bioactive compounds, we can maximize their therapeutic potential for preventing and treating gastrointestinal diseases associated with impaired intestinal barrier function and dysbiosis. View Full-Text
Keywords: probiotics; prebiotics; bioactive compounds; intestinal barrier function; tight junctions; toll-like receptors; intestinal microbiota probiotics; prebiotics; bioactive compounds; intestinal barrier function; tight junctions; toll-like receptors; intestinal microbiota
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rose, E.C.; Odle, J.; Blikslager, A.T.; Ziegler, A.L. Probiotics, Prebiotics and Epithelial Tight Junctions: A Promising Approach to Modulate Intestinal Barrier Function. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22, 6729. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22136729

AMA Style

Rose EC, Odle J, Blikslager AT, Ziegler AL. Probiotics, Prebiotics and Epithelial Tight Junctions: A Promising Approach to Modulate Intestinal Barrier Function. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021; 22(13):6729. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22136729

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rose, Elizabeth C., Jack Odle, Anthony T. Blikslager, and Amanda L. Ziegler 2021. "Probiotics, Prebiotics and Epithelial Tight Junctions: A Promising Approach to Modulate Intestinal Barrier Function" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22, no. 13: 6729. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22136729

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