The stomach, an organ derived from foregut endoderm, secretes acid and enzymes and plays a key role in digestion. During development, mesenchymal-epithelial interactions drive stomach specification, patterning, differentiation and growth through selected signaling pathways and transcription factors. After birth, the gastric epithelium is maintained by the activity of stem cells. Developmental signals are aberrantly activated and stem cell functions are disrupted in gastric cancer and other disorders. Therefore, a better understanding of stomach development and stem cells can inform approaches to treating these conditions. This Review highlights the molecular mechanisms of stomach development and discusses recent findings regarding stomach stem cells and organoid cultures, and their roles in investigating disease mechanisms.
Keywords: Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions; Organogenesis; Transcriptional control of development.
© 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.