Gut Stem Cells

THE GUT IS a common term for the intestinal part of the gastrointestinal tract, which is the pathway by which food enters the body, is processed for digestion of nutrients, and remnants exit the body. The gastrointestinal tract is therefore from the mouth to the anus. The cells lining the gastrointestinal tract, especially those cells lining the intestine, are constantly sloughing off and being replaced by new ones. This process is important to absorption of nutrients as well as to defense against invading microbes that enter the system through the gut. In order to replace the lost cells, a population of gut stem cells lines the gastrointestinal tract. These cells are studied in numerous laboratories because they are maintained throughout adulthood and consistently produce ...

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