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J Gastroenterol. 2004;39(5):413-21.

Cadherins: an integral role in inflammatory bowel disease and mucosal restitution.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of the West Indies, School of Clinical Medicine and Research, Bridgetown, Barbados.


The intestinal epithelium is characterized by rapid cellular turnover with continuous proliferation of multipotential stem cells within Lieberkuhn's crypts, cellular migration along the crypt-villus axis, cellular differentiation, polarization, apical apoptosis, and luminal shedding. These processes are critical for the development and maintenance of normal intestinal epithelial architecture and function and involve complex cell-cell and cell-substratum interactions, which are mediated by epithelial (E)-cadherin and the integrins, respectively. This review outlines the role of E-cadherin and its cytoplasmic binding proteins, the catenins, as well as the interplay with other mucosal adhesion and restitution molecules during physiological processes in the intestinal epithelium mediating embryogenesis, cellular differentiation, cellular migration, and mucosal repair, as well as what is known about the dysregulation of assembly of the E-cadherin-catenin adhesion complex in inflammatory bowel disease.

Copyright 2004 Springer-Verlag

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