Recent advances in the epithelial barrier theory

Pat Y., Yazici D., D'avino P., Li M., Ardıçlı S., Ardicli Ö., ...More

INTERNATIONAL IMMUNOLOGY, vol.36, no.5, pp.211-222, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 36 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1093/intimm/dxae002
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, EMBASE, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.211-222
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


The epithelial barrier theory links the recent rise in chronic non-communicable diseases, notably autoimmune and allergic disorders, to environmental agents disrupting the epithelial barrier. Global pollution and environmental toxic agent exposure have worsened over six decades because of uncontrolled growth, modernization, and industrialization, affecting human health. Introducing new chemicals without any reasonable control of their health effects through these years has led to documented adverse effects, especially on the skin and mucosal epithelial barriers. These substances, such as particulate matter, detergents, surfactants, food emulsifiers, micro- and nano-plastics, diesel exhaust, cigarette smoke, and ozone, have been shown to compromise the epithelial barrier integrity. This disruption is linked to the opening of the tight-junction barriers, inflammation, cell death, oxidative stress, and metabolic regulation. Consideration must be given to the interplay of toxic substances, underlying inflammatory diseases, and medications, especially in affected tissues. This review article discusses the detrimental effect of environmental barrier-damaging compounds on human health and involves cellular and molecular mechanisms.