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Dig Dis Sci. 2006 Apr;51(4):718-23.

Postnatal epithelial growth of the small intestine in the rat occurs by both crypt fission and crypt hyperplasia.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woodville South, South Australia, Australia.


Studies of growth of the small intestine have largely concentrated on crypt hyperplasia rather than crypt fission. The aim of this study was to investigate quantitatively both crypt fission and crypt hyperplasia. DAxPVG/c rats were killed at 7, 11, 14, 17, 19, 21, 25, 55, and 72-73 days of life. Samples of jejunum at one third of the intestinal length were taken for morphometry (villous area, crypt area, percentage of bifid crypts, and crypt mitotic count) by microdissection. Growth factors and their receptors were assessed by oligonucleotide microarray. Crypt fission was 10.5%, 5.2%, and 1.5% at days 11, 25, and 72-73 of life, respectively. Crypt hyperplasia increased from day 21. No conventional growth factor was identified during crypt fission. We conclude that crypt fission contributes to growth of the small intestine prior to weaning and crypt hyperplasia to growth after weaning.

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