Sato T, Vries RG, Snippert HJ, van de Wetering M, Barker N, Stange DE, van Es JH, Abo A, Kujala P, Peters PJ, Clevers HSingle Lgr5 stem cells build crypt-villus structures in vitro without a mesenchymal niche. Nature 459: 262-265

Hubrecht Institute and University Medical Center Utrecht, Uppsalalaan 8, 3584CT Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Nature (Impact Factor: 41.46). 04/2009; 459(7244):262-5. DOI: 10.1038/nature07935
Source: PubMed


The intestinal epithelium is the most rapidly self-renewing tissue in adult mammals. We have recently demonstrated the presence of about six cycling Lgr5(+) stem cells at the bottoms of small-intestinal crypts. Here we describe the establishment of long-term culture conditions under which single crypts undergo multiple crypt fission events, while simultanously generating villus-like epithelial domains in which all differentiated cell types are present. Single sorted Lgr5(+) stem cells can also initiate these cryptvillus organoids. Tracing experiments indicate that the Lgr5(+) stem-cell hierarchy is maintained in organoids. We conclude that intestinal cryptvillus units are self-organizing structures, which can be built from a single stem cell in the absence of a non-epithelial cellular niche.

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