Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of gastrointestinal disorders characterized by severe inflammation and includes ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease. IBD is thought to result from a combination of several factors including an inflammatory response to commensal microbes, dysregulation of the mucosal immune response, and a loss of epithelial barrier integrity (reviewed in [1, 2]). The intestinal epithelial barrier is a monolayer of epithelial cells that form a mechanical link to one another via adhesive structures such as tight junctions and adherens junctions. These adhesive, apical structures are comprised of adhesive and scaffolding proteins that are bound to cytoskeletal structures like actin filaments.
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