Editors' ChoicePhysiology

Gut Heal Thyself

Sci. Signal.  09 Oct 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 245, pp. ec260
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003666

Foods, drugs, and pathogens all represent possible threats to our guts on a daily basis. Fortunately, the gut is quite good at repairing itself—but how? Working in mice, Miyoshi et al. (see the Perspective by Barrett) selectively injured intestinal crypts containing intestinal stem cells and observed the repair process. The noncanonical Wnt ligand, Wnt5a, was required for crypt regeneration. Wnt5a inhibited intestinal stem cell proliferation, which paradoxically promoted regeneration of crypt tissue.

H. Miyoshi, R. Ajima, C. T. Luo, T. P. Yamaguchi, T. S. Stappenbeck, Wnt5a potentiates TGF-β signaling to promote colonic crypt regeneration after tissue injury. Science 338, 108–113 (2012). [Abstract] [Full Text]

T. A. Barrett, Intestinal wound healing requires a Wnt balancing act. Science 338, 51–52 (2012). [Abstract] [Full Text]