Intestinal Stem Cell: New Approach To Treatment

by Pooja Shete on Jan 14 2021 9:00 PM

Intestinal Stem Cell: New Approach To Treatment
The gut is known to play an important role in the regulation of the body's metabolism and its dysfunction is associated with a variety of diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, colitis and colorectal cancer that affect millions of people worldwide.
A promising regenerative approach for diabetes therapy is by targeting endocrine dysfunction at an early stage by stimulating the formation of specific enteroendocrine cells from intestinal stem cells. However, for this a detailed understanding of the intestinal stem cell lineage hierarchy and the signals regulating the recruitment of the different intestinal cell types are necessary.

Heiko Lickert is the director of the Institute of Diabetes and Regeneration Research at Helmholtz Zentrum München, professor of beta cell biology at Technical University of Munich (TUM) and member of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD). The first author of the study is Anika Böttcher. The study is published in the journal Nature Cell Biology.

Importance Of Gut Health

The gut is important for the regulation of energy and glucose homeostasis. The specialized cells are constantly generated and renewed every 3-4 days from intestinal stem cells that carry out intestinal functions. An example of this is the enteroendocrine cells that produce over 20 different types of hormones that signal to the brain and pancreas to regulate for instance appetite, food intake, gastric emptying, and insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells.

The Paneth cells produce defensins and protect against invading pathogens. Intestinal dysfunction is associated with a variety of diseases, such as chronic inflammation, colorectal cancer and diabetes. This affects millions of people worldwide.

Intestinal Stem Cells

A specific intestinal stem cell niche pathway (called Wnt/planar cell polarity pathway) regulates intestinal stem cell self-renewal and lineage decisions. The intestinal stem cells can indefinitely renew and maintain the gut function and tissue barrier. Each day, 6 meters of epithelium and more than 100 million of cells are generated in humans.

The risk of failure is high in this self-renewal or lineage specification process resulting in a chronic disease.

60,000 intestinal cells were profiled and the findings are applicable and important for cancer, inflammation and colitis as well as obesity and diabetes.

Therapeutic Approach

This basic knowledge can help to map the intestinal stem cell lineage allocation and differentiation during chronic disease. This will help to develop specific therapies for chronic diseases by targeting lineage progenitors for example to regenerate the formation of specific cells that are lost during disease progression or to identify and eradicate intestinal cancer stem cells.

The researchers will focus their efforts on diabetes.