Stem Cells in the Gastrointestinal Tract

Sean Preston, Nicholas A. Wright, Natalie Direkze, Mairi Brittan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Turnover of the epithelial cell lineages within the gastrointestinal tract is a constant process, occurring every two to seven days under normal homeostasis and increasing after damage. This process is regulated by multipotent stem cells, which generate all gastrointestinal epithelial cell lineages and can regenerate whole intestinal crypts and gastric glands. The stem cells of the gastrointestinal tract are as yet undefined, although it is generally agreed that they are located within a 'niche' in the intestinal crypts and gastric glands. Studies are beginning to identify the molecular pathways which regulate stem cell proliferation and differentiation into adult gastrointestinal cell lineages, and to discover the importance of mesenchymal-epithelial interactions. Finally, a strong case can be made for intestinal neoplasia arising as a result of a series of mutations in stem cells; central to this argument is the position and nature of the gastrointestinal stem cell.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEssentials of Stem Cell Biology
Subtitle of host publicationThird Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9780124104273
ISBN (Print)9780124095038
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Crypt
  • Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions
  • Gastric glands
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Goblet cells
  • Myofibroblasts
  • Paneth cells
  • Villi

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