Adult Stem Cells Physiology

Andersen-Colombani Group

[Affiliated Group]

Multicellular organisms have evolved organs and tissues with highly specialized tasks. For instance, nutrients are assimilated by the gut, sensed, processed, stored and released by adipose tissues and liver to provide energy consumed by peripheral organ activities.

The function of each organ is modified by local clues and systemic signals derived from other organs to ensure a coordinated response accommodating the physiological needs of the organism. The intestine, which represents one of the largest interfaces between the internal and external environment, plays a key role in sensing and relaying environmental inputs such as nutrients and microbial derivatives to other organs to produce systemic responses. In turn, gut physiology and immunity are regulated by multiple signals emanating from other organs including from brain, muscles, and adipose tissues.

The gut is a key organ in coupling systemic signals or environmental cues with organism growth, metabolism, immune activity, longevity or behavior. Understanding the robust strategies involving intra- and inter-organ signaling pathways that evolved to preserve gut size in homeostatic conditions and growth during damage-induced regenerative phases has a high impact in the field of regeneration, inflammation diseases and cancer biology.