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Stem-Cell Niche for 10 Billion Colon Cells a Day

In a mouse with a functioning stem cell niche, the large intestine consists of numerous villi and crypts. (Image: Bahar Degirmenci, UZH)

Researchers at the University of Zurich have discovered the identity of the stem-cell niche of the colon. The niche comprises special cells that activate the stem cells of the adjacent intestinal epithelium and are responsible for its continuous renewal. Without the activation signal, the epithelium perishes. If it’s constantly activated, early stages of cancer develop. The discovery helps to improve our understanding of intestinal cancer and inflammation. UZH News