Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tales from the crypt: Study on gut cell regeneration reconciles long-standing research controversy

Date:
November 12, 2011
Source:
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Summary:
The cells that help to absorb food and liquid that humans consume are constantly being produced. The various cell types that do this come from stem cells that reside deep in the inner recesses of the accordion-like folds of the intestines, called villi and crypts. But exactly where the most important stem cell type is located -- and how to identify it -- has been something of a mystery, until now.

Stem cell (blue) from the intestinal crypt.
Credit: Norifumi Takeda, Raj Jain and Jon Epstein, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

The lining of the intestine regenerates itself every few days as compared to say red blood cells that turn over every four months. The cells that help to absorb food and liquid that humans consume are constantly being produced. The various cell types that do this come from stem cells that reside deep in the inner recesses of the accordion-like folds of the intestines, called villi and crypts.

But exactly where the most important stem cell type is located -- and how to identify it -- has been something of a mystery. In fact, two types of intestinal stem cells have been proposed to exist but the relationship between them has been unclear. One type of stem cell divides slowly and resides at the sides of intestinal crypts. The other divides much more quickly and resides at the bottom of the crypts.

Some researchers have been proponents of one type of stem cell or the other as the "true" intestinal stem cell. Recent work published this week in Science from the lab of Jonathan Epstein, MD, chairman of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, may reconcile this controversy. The findings suggest that these two types of stem cells are related. In fact, each can produce the other, which surprised the researchers.

"We actually began our studies by looking at stem cells in the heart and other organs," Epstein said. "In other tissues in the body, slowly dividing cells can sometimes give rise to more rapidly dividing stem cells that are called to action when tissue regeneration is required. Our finding that this can happen in reverse in the intestine was not expected."

The discovery that rapidly cycling gut stem cells can regenerate the quiescent stem cells -- slowly dividing and probably long-lived -- suggests that the developmental pathways in human organs that regenerate quickly like in the gut, skin, blood, and bone, may be more flexible than previously appreciated.

"This better appreciation and understanding may help us learn how to promote the regeneration of tissue-specific adult stem cells that could subsequently help with tissue regeneration," says Epstein. "It may also help us to understand the cell types that give rise to cancer in the colon and stomach."

Co-authors are, all from Penn, Norifumi Takeda, Rajan Jain, Matthew R. LeBoeuf, Qiaohong Wang, and Min Min Lu. The work was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health and by the Penn Institute for Regenerative Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. N. Takeda, R. Jain, M. R. LeBoeuf, Q. Wang, M. M. Lu, J. A. Epstein. Interconversion Between Intestinal Stem Cell Populations in Distinct Niches. Science, 2011; DOI: 10.1126/science.1213214

Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Tales from the crypt: Study on gut cell regeneration reconciles long-standing research controversy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111111152203.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. (2011, November 12). Tales from the crypt: Study on gut cell regeneration reconciles long-standing research controversy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111111152203.htm
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Tales from the crypt: Study on gut cell regeneration reconciles long-standing research controversy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111111152203.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins