The role of radiation-induced and spontaneous apoptosis in the homeostasis of the gastrointestinal epithelium: a brief review

Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 1997 Nov;118(3):473-8. doi: 10.1016/s0305-0491(97)00219-8.


Until fairly recently, investigations into the control of cell production (proliferation) have been the mainstay of studies into the maintenance of mucosal homeostasis and general integrity. However, in addition to proliferation, it is now increasingly evident that programmed cell death, specifically that form of programmed cell death known as apoptosis, is an equally, if not more important, mechanism of regulating mucosal cell number. This review will concentrate on the significance of damage (radiation) induced and spontaneous apoptosis in the maintenance of intestinal epithelial stem cell number and integrity, and its probable link to the level of cancer incidence in the small intestine and colon.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics*
  • Apoptosis / radiation effects*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Digestive System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology