Feast or Famine: Stem Cell Regeneration in the Intestinal Crypt

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intestinal cells marked in red, blue, and green

Shinya Imada, Renan Oliveira Corrêa, Chia-Wei Cheng, Ömer Yilmaz

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intestinal cells marked in red, blue, and green

Shinya Imada, Renan Oliveira Corrêa, Chia-Wei Cheng, Ömer Yilmaz
Koch Institute at MIT

In the intestines, stem cells play a key role in tumor initiation and development. An organism’s dietary state can significantly disrupt or enhance the stem cells’ capacity to drive cancer progression.

The Yilmaz Lab is studying the ability of intestinal stem cells to regenerate under different dietary conditions such as fasting or post-fast refeeding. Researchers track new progeny cells (thick red, above green) generated from stem cells (thin red, among green) as they travel upward from the intestinal crypts (bottom) to refresh and replenish epithelial cells in the lining of the gut (blue). Paneth cells (green) secrete growth factors and support stem cell maintenance.

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Shinya Imada shares the story behind his award-winning image.