Identification of Lgr5 as the intestinal stem cell marker as well as the growth factors necessary to replicate adult intestinal stem cell division has led to the establishment of the methods to generate “indefinite” ex vivo primary intestinal epithelial cultures, termed “mini-intestines.” Primary cultures developed from isolated intestinal crypts or stem cells (termed enteroids/colonoids) and from inducible pluripotent stem cells (termed intestinal organoids) are being applied to study human intestinal physiology and pathophysiology with great expectations for translational applications, including regenerative medicine. Here we discuss the physiologic properties of these cultures, their current use in understanding diarrhea-causing host-pathogen interactions, and potential future applications.

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Journal of Biological Chemistry
Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Kovbasnjuk, O., Zachos, N. C., Foulke-Abel, J., In, J., Blutt, E., S., de Jonge, H., … Donowitz, M. (2015). Human Enteroids/Colonoids and Intestinal Organoids Functionally Recapitulate Normal Intestinal Physiology and Pathophysiology. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2016(291), 3759–3766. doi:10.1074/jbc.R114.635995