Human Enteroids/Colonoids and Intestinal Organoids Functionally Recapitulate Normal Intestinal Physiology and Pathophysiology

J Biol Chem. 2016 Feb 19;291(8):3759-66. doi: 10.1074/jbc.R114.635995. Epub 2015 Dec 16.


Identification of Lgr5 as the intestinal stem cell marker as well as the growth factors necessary to replicate adult intestinal stem cell division has led to the establishment of the methods to generate "indefinite" ex vivo primary intestinal epithelial cultures, termed "mini-intestines." Primary cultures developed from isolated intestinal crypts or stem cells (termed enteroids/colonoids) and from inducible pluripotent stem cells (termed intestinal organoids) are being applied to study human intestinal physiology and pathophysiology with great expectations for translational applications, including regenerative medicine. Here we discuss the physiologic properties of these cultures, their current use in understanding diarrhea-causing host-pathogen interactions, and potential future applications.

Keywords: differentiation; enteroid; induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS cell) (iPSC); intestinal epithelium; lgr5; organoid; stem cells; transport.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Adult Stem Cells / pathology
  • Antigens, Differentiation / metabolism*
  • Diarrhea* / metabolism
  • Diarrhea* / pathology
  • Diarrhea* / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / pathology
  • Intestinal Mucosa* / metabolism
  • Intestines* / pathology
  • Intestines* / physiopathology
  • Organoids* / metabolism
  • Organoids* / pathology
  • Organoids* / physiopathology
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*


  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • LGR5 protein, human
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled