Introduction

Tight Junctions (TJs) govern the permeability of epithelial and endothelial cells and are the most topical structures of these cell types (1-3). It is a region where the plasma membrane of adjacent cells forms a series of contacts that appear to completely occlude the extracellular space thus creating an intercellular barrier and intramembrane diffusion fence (4).

TJs in endothelial cells function as a barrier through which molecules and inflammatory cells can pass. In epithelial cells the TJ functions in an adhesive manner and can prevent cell dissociation (5). An important step in the formation of cancer metastases is interaction and penetration of the vascular endothelium by dissociated cancer cells. TJs are therefore the first barrier that cancer cells must overcome in order to metastasize. We have previously demonstrated that TJs of vascular endothelium in vivo function as a barrier between blood and tissues against metastatic cancer cells (6).

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