Currently, many gastrointestinal diseases are a major reason for the increased mortality rate of children and adults every year. Additionally, these patients may cope with the high cost of the parenteral nutrition (PN), which aids in the long-term survival of the patients. Other treatment options include surgical lengthening, which is not sufficient in many cases, and intestinal transplantation. However, intestinal transplantation is still accompanied by many challenges, including immune rejection and donor availability, which may limit the transplant’s success. The development of more safe and promising alternative treatments for intestinal diseases is still ongoing. Stem cell-based therapy (SCT) and tissue engineering (TE) appear to be the next promising choices for the regeneration of the damaged intestine. However, suitable stem cell source is required for the SCT and TE process. Thus, in this review we discuss how intestinal stem cells (ISCs) are a promising cell source for small intestine diseases. We will also discuss the different markers were used to identify ISCs. Moreover, we discuss the dominant Wnt signaling pathway in the ISC niche and its involvement in some intestinal diseases. Additionally, we discuss ISC culture and expansion, which are critical to providing enough cells for SCT and TE. Finally, we conclude and recommend that ISC isolation, culture and expansion should be considered when SCT is a treatment option for intestinal disorders. Therefore, we believe that ISCs should be considered a cell source for SCT for many gastrointestinal diseases and should be highlighted in future clinical applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Cell Biology