We were able to identify an intestinal Zot analogue, which we named zonulin. It is conceivable that the zonulins participate in the physiological regulation of intercellular tj not only in the small intestine, but also throughout a wide range of extraintestinal epithelia as well as the ubiquitous vascular endothelium, including the blood-brain barrier. Disregulation of this hypothetical zonulin model may contribute to disease states that involve disordered intercellular communication, including developmental and intestinal disorders, tissue inflammation, malignant transformation, and metastasis.
Sources:J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr . 2010 Oct;51(4):418-24. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000;915:214-22. Most people (doctors included) connect gluten with intestinal symptoms and therefore, fail to understand the far reaching effects that gluten can have on different individuals. The discovery of the protein zonulin has identified yet another way that gluten can create problems for those ingesting it. It is thought that zonulin disrupts the epithelial barriers (such as found in the gut, brain, kidney, blood vessels, etc). The disruption of the blood brain barrier could lead to a battery of different neurological and mental symptoms as this barrier is designed to keep toxic compounds out of the brain’s blood supply. We have already linked gluten induced damage to a multitude of neurological problems including:
- Bipolar disease
- Seizure disorders
- Facial Palsies (i.e Bell’s)
- Nerve pain syndromes
- Autism and other developmental disease