Morphological, kinetic, membrane biochemical and genetic aspects of intestinal enteroplasticity

World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Feb 21;15(7):774-87. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.774.


The process of intestinal adaptation ("enteroplasticity") is complex and multifaceted. Although a number of trophic nutrients and non-nutritive factors have been identified in animal studies, successful, reproducible clinical trials in humans are awaited. Understanding mechanisms underlying this adaptive process may direct research toward strategies that maximize intestinal function and impart a true clinical benefit to patients with short bowel syndrome, or to persons in whom nutrient absorption needs to be maximized. In this review, we consider the morphological, kinetic and membrane biochemical aspects of enteroplasticity, focus on the importance of nutritional factors, provide an overview of the many hormones that may alter the adaptive process, and consider some of the possible molecular profiles. While most of the data is derived from rodent studies, wherever possible, the results of human studies of intestinal enteroplasticity are provided.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Alcoholism / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Hormones / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / physiopathology
  • Intestine, Small / physiopathology
  • Intestine, Small / surgery
  • Intestines / physiology*
  • Intestines / physiopathology*
  • Intestines / surgery
  • Kinetics
  • Microvilli / physiology
  • Parenteral Nutrition, Total
  • Pregnancy / physiology
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Short Bowel Syndrome / therapy


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Hormones
  • Glucose