Trefoil factors: initiators of mucosal healing

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2003 Sep;4(9):721-32. doi: 10.1038/nrm1203.


Maintaining the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract, despite the continual presence of microbial flora and injurious agents, is essential. Epithelial continuity depends on a family of small, yet abundant, secreted proteins--the trefoil factors (TFFs). TFFs protect mucous epithelia from a range of insults and contribute to mucosal repair, although the signalling events that mediate these responses are only partially understood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Growth Substances / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Mucins*
  • Mucous Membrane / metabolism*
  • Muscle Proteins*
  • Neuropeptides*
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Trefoil Factor-2
  • Trefoil Factor-3
  • Wound Healing / physiology*


  • Growth Substances
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Mucins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Peptides
  • TFF3 protein, rat
  • Trefoil Factor-2
  • Trefoil Factor-3