"Genetic predisposition, miscommunication between innate and adaptive immunity, exposure to environmental triggers, and loss of intestinal barrier function secondary to the activation of the zonulin pathway by food-derived environmental triggers or changes in gut microbiota all seem to be key ingredients involved in the pathogenesis of inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer. This new theory implies that once the pathological process is activated, it is not auto-perpetuating. Rather, it can be modulated or even reversed by preventing the continuous interplay between genes and the environment. Since zonulin-dependent TJ [tight junction] dysfunction allows such interactions, new therapeutic strategies aimed at reestablishing the intestinal barrier function by downregulating the zonulin pathway offer innovative and not-yet-explored approaches for the management of these debilitating chronic diseases."
Zonulin and Its Regulation of Intestinal Barrier Function: The Biological Door to Inflammation, Autoimmunity, and Cancer - Physiological Reviews