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Digestion. 2003;68(4):217-25. Epub 2004 Jan 21.

Paradigms for mechanical signal transduction in the intestinal epithelium. Category: molecular, cell, and developmental biology.

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Departments of Surgery, Wayne State University and John D. Dingell VA Medical Center, Detroit, Mich. 48201, USA.


Diverse physical forces including deformation or strain, pressure, and shear stress affect the intestinal mucosa during normal function, and mucosal biology is altered in pathological states in which these forces alter. Taken together with evidence in other tissues and cell types that physical forces can affect cell biology, this has led to the hypothesis that repetitively applied physical forces can initiate intracellular signals that alter intestinal epithelial proliferation and phenotype. This review outlines the nature of such forces and summarizes in vivo and in vitro evidence in support of the paradigm that repetitive force is trophic for the intestinal mucosa via a complex cascade of intracellular signals.

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