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Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2008 Jul;1(1):51-60. doi: 10.1177/1756283X08093943.

Enteroendocrine cells: neglected players in gastrointestinal disorders?

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Department of Gastroenterology, University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, UK.

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  • Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2008 Sep;1(2):144. Worthington, J [added].


Enteroendocrine cells (EEC) form the basis of the largest endocrine system in the body. They secrete multiple regulatory molecules which control physiological and homeostatic functions, particularly postprandial secretion and motility. Their key purpose is to act as sensors of luminal contents, either in a classical endocrine fashion, or by a paracrine effect on proximate cells, notably vagal afferent fibres. They also play a pivotal role in the control of food intake, and emerging data add roles in mucosal immunity and repair. We propose that EEC are fundamental in several gastrointestinal pathologies, notably Post-infectious Irritable Bowel Syndrome, infectious enteritis, and possibly inflammatory bowel disease. Further work is needed to fully illustrate the importance, detailed biology and therapeutic potential of these frequently overlooked cells.


Enteroendocrine cells; anendocrinosis; inflammation; inflammatory bowel disease; innate immunity; irritable bowel syndrome

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