The intestinal epithelium is the most rapidly self-renewing tissue in adult mammals. We have recently demonstrated the presence of about six cycling Lgr5(+) stem cells at the bottoms of small-intestinal crypts. Here we describe the establishment of long-term culture conditions under which single crypts undergo multiple crypt fission events, while simultanously generating villus-like epithelial domains in which all differentiated cell types are present. Single sorted Lgr5(+) stem cells can also initiate these cryptvillus organoids. Tracing experiments indicate that the Lgr5(+) stem-cell hierarchy is maintained in organoids. We conclude that intestinal cryptvillus units are self-organizing structures, which can be built from a single stem cell in the absence of a non-epithelial cellular niche.
Original languageEnglish
Pages262-265
JournalNature
Journal publication date2009
Volume459
Issue7244
DOI
StatePublished
Peer-reviewedYes

ID: 298428