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Epithelial and endothelial cell layers serve as barriers between body compartments and the environment, maintaining gradients and regulating substance and cellular exchange between these spaces. Physical barrier function is provided by the cells themselves and by a key “gate” that exists between the cells, the tight junctions.

Tight junctions are dynamic structures that can open and close in response to a variety of internal and external stimuli. The tight junctions are key to regulating the flow of molecules between the cells. Many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and irritable bowel syndrome, are characterized by an abnormally high intestinal paracellular permeability which allows antigens of various types to cross the intestinal epithelial barrier and initiate and perpetuate an inflammatory immune response. In celiac disease, for instance, increased intestinal permeability results in increased passage of the triggering antigen gluten through the intestinal wall resulting in an immune reaction which leads to auto-antibody development and ultimately to intestinal mucosal damage. Closing tight junctions results in reduced gluten exposure to the mucosal immune system and the consequent reduction in the inflammatory and autoimmune response to this triggering antigen.

Alba’s technology platform is based upon the modulation of tight junctions to treat and modify the course of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases by regulating the flow of molecules between cells. Alba’s portfolio is composed of a series of molecules that transiently and reversibly regulate tight junctions, including inhibitors that maintain tight junctions in the closed state and thus reduce mucosal permeability and inducer molecules that transiently open tight junctions and can be used to enhance drug or vaccine delivery across mucosal surfaces. Alba’s vision is to leverage our tight junction regulator technology along with our development expertise to deliver novel drugs that treat the underlying cause of many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.


Larazotide Acetate Regulates Epithelial Tight Junctions in Vitro and in Vivo

Reference: Gopalakrishnan S, Durai M, Kitchens K, Tamiz AP, Somerville R, Ginski M, Paterson BM, Murray JA, Verdu EF, Alkan SS, Pandey NB. Larazotide Acetate Regulates Epithelial Tight Junctions in Vitro and in Vivo. Peptides. 2012 Feb 27.

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Larazotide Acetate Promotes Tight Junction Assembly in Epithelial Cells

Reference: Gopalakrishnan S, Tripathi A, Tamiz AP, Alkan SS, Pandey NB. Larazotide Acetate Promotes Tight Junction Assembly in Epithelial Cells. Peptide. 2012 May.

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