Current Stem Cell Reports

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 320–332 | Cite as

The Role of Intestinal Stem Cells in Epithelial Regeneration Following Radiation-Induced Gut Injury

  • Chang-Kyung Kim
  • Vincent W. Yang
  • Agnieszka B. Bialkowska
Radiation Biology and Stem Cells (CD Porada and PF Wilson Jr, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Radiation Biology and Stem Cells


Purpose of Review

Intestinal epithelial cells show remarkable plasticity in regenerating the epithelium following radiation injury. In this review, we explore the regenerative capacity and mechanisms of various populations of intestinal stem cells (ISCs) in response to ionizing radiation.

Recent Findings

Ionizing radiation targets mitotic cells that include “active” ISCs and progenitor cells. Lineage-tracing experiments showed that several different cell types identified by a single or combination of markers are capable of regenerating the epithelium, confirming that ISCs exhibit a high degree of plasticity. However, the identities of the contributing cells marked by various markers require further validation.


Following radiation injury, quiescent and/or radioresistant cells become active stem cells to regenerate the epithelium. Looking forward, understanding the mechanisms by which ISCs govern tissue regeneration is crucial to determine therapeutic approaches to promote intestinal epithelial regeneration following injury.


Intestinal epithelial cells Stem cells Irradiation Regeneration 



Alkaline phosphatase


Achaete-scute family BHLH transcription factor 2


Atonal BHLH transcription factor 1


B lymphoma Mo-MLV insertion region 1 homolog polycomb ring finger proto-oncogene


Doublecortin like kinase 1


Delta-like canonical notch ligand 1


Diphtheria toxin receptor


Green fluorescent protein


HOP homeobox


Krüppel-like factor 4


Keratin 19


Leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein-coupled receptor 5


Leucine-rich repeats and immunoglobulin like domains 1


Mex-3 RNA binding family member A


Telomerase reverse transcriptase


Olfactomedin 4


Prominin 1


p53 Upregulated modulator of apoptosis


Red fluorescent protein


SPARC-related modular calcium binding 2


SRY-box 9


Signal transducer and activator of transcription 5



Work from our laboratory was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (DK052230, DK093680, CA084197, and CA172113 awarded to V.W.Y.).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Chang-Kyung Kim, Vincent W. Yang, and Agnieszka B. Bialkowska declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chang-Kyung Kim
    • 1
  • Vincent W. Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Agnieszka B. Bialkowska
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineStony Brook University School of MedicineStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physiology and BiophysicsStony Brook University School of MedicineStony BrookUSA

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