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Stem Cells Dev. 2015 Sep 1;24(17):1972-83. doi: 10.1089/scd.2015.0017. Epub 2015 Jul 2.

From Definitive Endoderm to Gut-a Process of Growth and Maturation.

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BRIC - Biotech Research and Innovation Centre, University of Copenhagen , Copenhagen N, Denmark .


The intestine and colon carries out vital functions, and their lifelong maintenance is of the upmost importance. Research over the past decades has carefully addressed bowel function, how it is maintained and begun to unravel how disorders such as cancer and inflammatory bowel disease form. In contrast, very little is known about the molecular mechanisms that trigger tissue maturation during development. With this review, our aim is to carefully provide a critical appraisal of the literature to give a state-of-the-art view of intestinal development. Starting from definitive endoderm at gastrulation to the emergence of a structure with mature properties, the tissue undergoes complex morphogenetic processes that rely on both biophysical changes and secreted signaling molecules. We will also discuss how new and exciting developments using in vitro models are likely to provide new insights into this process and potential therapeutic strategies for gastrointestinal disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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