Stem Cell Therapy for GI Neuromuscular Disorders

Khalil N. Bitar, Shreya Raghavan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The enteric nervous system is the intrinsic innervation of the gut. Several neuromuscular disorders affect the neurons and glia of the enteric nervous system adversely, resulting in disruptions in gastrointestinal motility and function. Pharmacological interventions to remedy gastrointestinal function do not address the underlying cause of dysmotility arising from lost, absent, or damaged enteric neuroglial circuitry. Cell-based therapies have gained traction in the past decade, following the discovery of several adult stem cell niches in the human body. Adult neural stem cells can be isolated from the postnatal and adult intestine using minimally invasive biopsies. These stem cells retain the ability to differentiate into several functional classes of enteric neurons and enteric glia. Upon identification of these cells, several groups have also established that transplantation of these cells into aganglionic or dysganglionic intestine rescues gastrointestinal motility and function. This chapter highlights key studies performed in the field of stem cell transplantation therapies that are targeted towards the remedy of gastrointestinal motility and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number419
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Gastroenterology Reports
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2014


  • Cell therapy
  • Enteric glia
  • Enteric nervous system
  • Enteric neural stem cells
  • Enteric neuronal progenitor cells
  • GI neuromuscular disorders
  • Regenerative medicine in the gut
  • Stem cell transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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