06 June 2018
Vol 10, Issue 444

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Pretty in SPINK. Epithelial barriers throughout the body, such as the lining of the digestive tract and the skin, help prevent infection or allergies. Shown here is a rendering of a biopsy from a patient with eosinophilic esophagitis, an allergic condition that damages the esophagus. Azouz and colleagues found reduced expression of the serine protease inhibitor SPINK7 in patient samples. Knocking down SPINK7 in an epithelial cell line led to barrier disruption and inflammatory cytokine production, which could be reversed with an antiserine protease. Compensating for the loss of SPINK7 by dampening protease activity could restore epithelial barrier function and bring relief to patients with eosinophilic esophagitis. [CREDIT: C. WOODS, M. COLLINS, N. AZOUZ, M. ROTHENBERG/CINCINNATI CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER]