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Angiocrine Regulation Of Epithelial Barrier Integrity In Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Michael Stürzl, Meik Kunz, Susanne M. Krug, Elisabeth Naschberger

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Inflammatory bowel disease describes chronic inflammatory disorders. The incidence of the disease is rising. A major step in disease development is the breakdown of the epithelial cell barrier. Numerous blood vessels are directly located underneath this barrier. Diseased tissues are heavily vascularized and blood vessels significantly contribute to disease progression. The gut-vascular barrier (GVB) is an additional barrier controlling the entry of substances into the portal circulation and to the liver after passing the first epithelial barrier. The presence of the GVB rises the question, whether the vascular and endothelial barriers may communicate bi-directionally in the regulation of selective barrier permeability. Communication from epithelial to endothelial cells is well-accepted. In contrast, little is known on the respective backwards communication. Only recently, perfusion-independent angiocrine functions of endothelial cells were recognized in a way that endothelial cells release specific soluble factors that may directly act on the epithelial barrier. This review discusses the putative involvement of angiocrine inter-barrier communication in the pathogenesis of IBD.