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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010, Article ID 484987, 6 pages
Review Article

Endocytosis and Recycling of Tight Junction Proteins in Inflammation

Department of General and Visceral Surgery, University Hospital Muenster, Waldeyerstraße 1, 48149 Muenster, Germany

Received 19 July 2009; Accepted 28 October 2009

Academic Editor: Xue-Ru Wu

Copyright © 2010 Markus Utech et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A critical function of the epithelial lining is to form a barrier that separates luminal contents from the underlying interstitium. This barrier function is primarily regulated by the apical junctional complex (AJC) consisting of tight junctions (TJs) and adherens junctions (AJs) and is compromised under inflammatory conditions. In intestinal epithelial cells, proinflammatory cytokines, for example, interferon-gamma (IFN- ), induce internalization of TJ proteins by endocytosis. Endocytosed TJ proteins are passed into early and recycling endosomes, suggesting the involvement of recycling of internalized TJ proteins. This review summarizes mechanisms by which TJ proteins under inflammatory conditions are internalized in intestinal epithelial cells and point out comparable mechanism in nonintestinal epithelial cells.