Life and death at the mucosal-luminal interface: New perspectives on human intestinal ischemia-reperfusion

World J Gastroenterol. 2016 Mar 7;22(9):2760-70. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i9.2760.


Intestinal ischemia is a frequently observed phenomenon. Morbidity and mortality rates are extraordinarily high and did not improve over the past decades. This is in part attributable to limited knowledge on the pathophysiology of intestinal ischemia-reperfusion (IR) in man, the paucity in preventive and/or therapeutic options and the lack of early diagnostic markers for intestinal ischemia. To improve our knowledge and solve clinically important questions regarding intestinal IR, we developed a human experimental intestinal IR model. With this model, we were able to gain insight into the mechanisms that allow the human gut to withstand short periods of IR without the development of severe inflammatory responses. The purpose of this review is to overview the most relevant recent advances in our understanding of the pathophysiology of human intestinal IR, as well as the (potential) future clinical implications.

Keywords: Colon ischemia; Epithelial lining; Human models; Ischemia-reperfusion; Small intestinal ischemia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Death
  • Colon / blood supply
  • Colon / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases / pathology*
  • Intestinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Intestinal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Intestinal Mucosa / blood supply
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology*
  • Intestine, Small / blood supply
  • Intestine, Small / pathology*
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology*
  • Reperfusion Injury / physiopathology
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control
  • Splanchnic Circulation
  • Time Factors