Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Dec;6(12):724-37. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2009.195. Epub 2009 Nov 3.

Stem cells in gastroenterology and hepatology.

Author information

Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases, Columbia University Medical Center, Irving Cancer Research Center, 1130 St Nicholas Avenue, Room 925, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Cellular and tissue regeneration in the gastrointestinal tract and liver depends on stem cells with properties of longevity, self-renewal and multipotency. Progress in stem cell research and the identification of potential esophageal, gastric, intestinal, colonic, hepatic and pancreatic stem cells provides hope for the use of stem cells in regenerative medicine and treatments for disease. Embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells have the potential to give rise to any cell type in the human body, but their therapeutic application remains challenging. The use of adult or tissue-restricted stem cells is emerging as another possible approach for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. The same self-renewal properties that allow stem cells to remain immortal and generate any tissue can occasionally make their proliferation difficult to control and make them susceptible to malignant transformation. This Review provides an overview of the different types of stem cell, focusing on tissue-restricted adult stem cells in the fields of gastroenterology and hepatology and summarizing the potential benefits and risks of using stems cells to treat gastroenterological and liver disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center