Tight junctions (TJs) play pivotal roles in the fence and barrier functions of epithelial and endothelial cell sheets. Since the 1980s, the modulation of the TJ barrier has been utilized as a method for drug absorption. Over the last decade, the structural and functional biochemical components of TJs, such as occludin and claudin, have been determined, providing new insights into TJ-based pharmaceutical therapy. For example, the modulation of the claudin barrier enhances the jejunal absorption of drugs, and claudin expression is deregulated in cancer cells. Claudin is a co-receptor for the hepatitis C virus. Moreover, claudin is modulated during inflammatory conditions. These findings indicate that claudins are promising drug targets. In this review, we discuss the seeds of claudin-based drug development, which may provide potential pharmaceutical breakthroughs in the future.
Keywords: Tight junction, claudin, cancer, inflammation, infection, Drug Development, endothelial cell sheets, Malignant tumors, TJ-based pharmaceutical therapy, jejunal absorption
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