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Curr Mol Biol Rep. 2017 Sep;3(3):143-148. doi: 10.1007/s40610-017-0065-7. Epub 2017 Jul 13.

Recent Advances in Intestinal Stem Cells.

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Department of Physiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.


Purpose of review:

The intestine is a dynamic organ with rapid stem cell division generating epithelial cells that mature and apoptose in 3-5 days. Rapid turnover maintains the epithelial barrier and homeostasis. Current insights on intestinal stem cells (ISCs) and their regulation are discussed here.

Recent findings:

The Lgr5+ ISCs maintain intestinal homeostasis by dividing asymmetrically, but also divide symmetrically to extinguish or replace ISCs. Following radiation or mucosal injury, reserve BMI1+ ISCs as well as other crypt cells can de-differentiate into Lgr5+ ISCs. ISC niche cells, including Paneth, immune and myofibroblast cells secrete factors that regulate ISC proliferation. Finally, several studies indicate that the microbiome metabolites regulate ISC growth.


ISC cells can be plastic and integrate a complexity of environmental/niche cues to trigger or suppress proliferation as needed.


Bmi1+; CBC; Lrg5+; Wnt; intestine; stem cell

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest Laura McCabe reports grants from National Institute of Health RO1 DK101050, grants from National Institute of Health RO1 AT007695, during the conduct of the study. Narayanan Parameswaran reports grants from National Institutes of Health during the conduct of the study.

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