Artificial intestines could be created thanks to stem cells. Intestinal stem cells grown in the laboratory have been manipulated to differentiate in order to produce all of the different types of cells that form intestinal epithelium, said a Dutch study, published in ‘Nature’ magazine by Hans Clevers of the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht.
The study also outlines a more precise link between stem cells and their microenvironment.
It also offers a practical technique to generate new intestinal epithelium in the laboratory. Stem cells, which express the Lgr5 protein, were discovered on several specific regions of the intestinal epithelium, called crypts.
Clevers and his colleagues describe a long-term method transform single stem cells in culture that express Lgr5 in structures simulating the environment of the organ, which contain all of the different types of differentiated cells present in the intestinal crypts.