, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 340-348

Intestinal Stem Cells

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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.