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Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2010 Oct;12(5):340-8. doi: 10.1007/s11894-010-0130-3.

Intestinal stem cells.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Digestive Diseases, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 975 NE 10th Street, SL Young BRC West 1268B, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA.


Self-renewal in the intestinal epithelia is fueled by a population of undifferentiated intestinal stem cells (ISCs) that give rise to daughter or progenitor cells, which can subsequently differentiate into the mature cell types required for normal gut function. The cellular signals that regulate self-renewal are poorly understood and the factors that mediate the transition from a stem cell to a progenitor cell in the gut are unknown. Recent studies have suggested that ISCs are located either at the crypt base interspersed between the Paneth cells (eg, Lgr-5+ve cells) or at or near position 4 within the intestinal crypt (eg, DCAMKL-1 or Bmi-1+ve cells). This raises the possibility that distinct stem cell regions exist in the crypts and that ISC's state of activation will determine how the self-renewal is regulated in the intestinal tract.

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