BACKGROUND: Enterocyte growth and differentiation along the crypt-villus axis is a highly controlled process. Crypt cells divide to produce enterocytes that migrate along the villus axis prior to terminal differentiation. Growth factors and basement membrane may be involved in the regulation of this process. METHODS: IEC-6 proliferation was measured in cells grown on laminin or collagen I by measuring the conversion of Owen's reagent to formazan. Cells were grown with no growth factor, one growth factor (ie, epidermal growth factor, insulin-like growth factor-I, or transforming growth factor-α), or a combination of factors. RESULTS: Enterocyte proliferation was increased in all groups given mitogenic growth factors with additive increases in those given combinations. Enterocytes grown on laminin showed a significantly decreased proliferative response to mitogenic growth factors in all experimental groups. Matrix did not alter seeding efficiency or cell viability. CONCLUSION: Basement membrane may play a role in the regulation of cell proliferation along the crypt-villus axis.
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