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J Gastrointest Surg. 2011 Apr;15(4):694-700. doi: 10.1007/s11605-010-1400-y. Epub 2010 Nov 30.

Humans, mice, and mechanisms of intestinal atresias: a window into understanding early intestinal development.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, 600 Highland Avenue H4/785c CSC, Madison, WI 53792, USA.



Intestinal atresias have long been hypothesized to result from either failure of recanalization of the intestinal lumen or in utero vascular accidents. Recent work in animal models is now calling for a reassessment of these widely held paradigms.


In this review, we will examine the data that led to the original hypotheses and then evaluate more recent work challenging these hypotheses. Furthermore, we will discuss how defining the mechanism of atresia formation in animal models may provide insight into early intestinal development and the mechanism of lengthwise intestinal growth.


Such insight will be critical in developing regenerative therapies for patients with intestinal failure.

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