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Wound healing of intestinal epithelial cells

DOI: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i17.2161

Keywords: Intestinal epithelial cell , Wound healing , Restitution , Growth factors , Toll-like receptor

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The intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) form a selective permeability barrier separating luminal content from underlying tissues. Upon injury, the intestinal epithelium undergoes a wound healing process. Intestinal wound healing is dependent on the balance of three cellular events; restitution, proliferation, and differentiation of epithelial cells adjacent to the wounded area. Previous studies have shown that various regulatory peptides, including growth factors and cytokines, modulate intestinal epithelial wound healing. Recent studies have revealed that novel factors, which include toll-like receptors (TLRs), regulatory peptides, particular dietary factors, and some gastroprotective agents, also modulate intestinal epithelial wound repair. Among these factors, the activation of TLRs by commensal bacteria is suggested to play an essential role in the maintenance of gut homeostasis. Recent studies suggest that mutations and dysregulation of TLRs could be major contributing factors in the predisposition and perpetuation of inflammatory bowel disease. Additionally, studies have shown that specific signaling pathways are involved in IEC wound repair. In this review, we summarize the function of IECs, the process of intestinal epithelial wound healing, and the functions and mechanisms of the various factors that contribute to gut homeostasis and intestinal epithelial wound healing.


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