After intestinal injury, both the number and type of intestinal epithelial cells must be restored. Intestinal stem cells, located at the base of the intestinal crypt, repopulate the depleted crypt in a process known as compensatory proliferation. In this issue of the JCI, Brown et al. describe a new mechanism by which this process is regulated (see the related article beginning on page 258). Surprisingly, they find that a subset of stromal cells present within the intestinal tissue and expressing the proliferative factor prostaglandin-endoperoxidase synthase 2 (Ptgs2) is repositioned next to the intestinal stem cell compartment where local production of PGE2 controls injury-induced epithelial cell proliferation.
Seth Rakoff-Nahoum, Ruslan Medzhitov