Gut: Existing or Potential Regenerative Medicine Strategies

Diseases affecting the gut include inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s and celiac diseases, fistulas, leaky gut syndromes, and so on, including various cancers affecting different regions of the gastrointestinal system (e.g., colon cancer, small intestine cancer). The intestines represent the largest mucosal surface interfacing between our environment and our bloodstream, yet only a single layer of epithelial cells provides this interfacial barrier. For this reason, the gut is capable of mounting an aggressive immune response against any ingested pathogenic material.

For example, specialized Paneth cells secrete antimicrobial defensins, and other intestinal epithelial cells secrete proinflammatory cytokines. In healthy individuals, this capability is strongly regulated to allow for the digestion and absorption of foreign materials that represent nutrients to the body, and to prevent damage to the ...

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