Published online Feb 7, 2014. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i5.1165
Revised: November 8, 2013
Accepted: December 12, 2013
Published online: February 7, 2014
Core tip: An efficient intestinal mucosal barrier is critical for protection against invading microorganisms, therefore impairments in this system have serious adverse effects on health. In patients suffering from the inflammatory bowel diseases Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, the intestinal barrier function is compromised at different levels including, amongst others, a defective production of antimicrobial peptides, alterations of the mucus layer and defects in the process of autophagy. In this article, we outline important components of the healthy intestinal mucosal barrier and review their disturbances in inflammatory bowel disease.