Th e mammalian intestine is responsible for the absorption of dietary nutrients and water, and the excretion of waste materials. While selective exchange of compounds takes place between the intestinal lumen and tissue, the intestine also has an important barrier function in denying access to less desirable substances.1 To facilitate these specifi ed and diverse functions, the lumen of the intestine is lined by a highly diff erentiated epithelium comprised of specialized absorptive and secretory cells that display a wide-ranging, yet tightly regulated diversity in distribution and gene expression along the cephalocaudal axis. Th is spatial diversity results in a well-organized series of events taking place in diff erent regions of the intestine leading to an exquisite effi ciency in the absorption of all necessary nutrients and water.2 Disease processes, congenital deviations or inescapable resections, however, easily disrupt these events. Th us, to eventually develop strategies to regenerate lost or defi cient intestinal function when gastrointestinal processes go awry, it is essential to completely understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of the epithelium required for physiological functioning of the intestine.

colon, mammalian intestine
R.J. Grand (Richard) , H.A. B├╝ller (Hans)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Beuling, E. (2010, December 2). GATA transcription factors and the regulation of intestinal development, differentiation and function. Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam. Retrieved from