Intestinal mesenchymal cells

Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2010 Oct;12(5):310-8. doi: 10.1007/s11894-010-0135-y.


The non-white blood cell mesenchymal elements of the intestinal lamina propria are the myofibroblasts, fibroblasts, pericytes, stromal stem cells, muscularis mucosae, and the smooth muscle of the villus core associated with the lymphatic lacteal. We review the functional anatomy of these mesenchymal cells, what is known about their origin in the embryo and their replacement in adults, their putative role in intestinal mucosal morphogenesis, and the intestinal stem cell niche, and we consider new information about myofibroblasts as nonprofessional immune cells. Although our knowledge of the function of mesenchymal cells in intestinal disease is rudimentary, we briefly consider here their roles in cancer and intestinal inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology
  • Endoderm / cytology*
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Fibroblasts
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells
  • Mesoderm / cytology*
  • Mice
  • Mucous Membrane
  • Muscle, Smooth
  • Myofibroblasts / cytology*
  • Myofibroblasts / pathology*
  • Pericytes
  • Stromal Cells / immunology


  • Biomarkers