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Internal frontier: The pathophysiology of the small intestine

DOI: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i2.161

Keywords: Ileum , Jejunum , Small intestine , Atrophy , Adaptation , Enteroscopy

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Abstract:

Even though the small intestine occupies a major portion of the abdominal space and is essential for life, in most pathology textbooks any chapter on small intestinal diseases, especially in human beings, is typically shorter than those for other gastrointestinal organs. Clinical and experimental investigations of the small intestine in various clinical situations, such as nutrition management, obesity interventions, and emergency care, have elucidated several important biological problems associated with the small intestine, the last frontier of gastroenterology. In this issue, a review by Professor Basson and his team at Michigan State University sheds light on the changes in the human small intestine under various conditions based on their clinical and surgical experience. With the advent of recent innovations in enteroscopy, a form of endoscopy used to examine deep within the small intestine, the issue that they highlighted, i.e., mucosal adaptation and atrophy of the human small intestine, has emerged as a major and manageable challenge for gastroenterologists in general, including the readers of the World Journal of Gastroenterology.

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