Intestinal stem cells (ESCs) are well-characterized adult stem cells. However, their contribution to mucosal immunity is less appreciated. We are now exploring the role of these adult stem cells in innate and adaptive immune responses that may lead to gut homeostasis or when disrupted to a wide array of diseases.
Adult stem cells are critical players in the regeneration of their corresponding tissue. Intestinal stem cells (ISC) can differentiate to all epithelial lineages, including enterocytes, goblet, Paneth, enteroendocrine, tuft, and microfold cells. These cells have multiple tasks in nutrient absorbing, mucus secretion, antimicrobial agents production, hormone secretion, and cytokines production. Our group is interested in finding the immunological properties of adult stem cells. These properties may be involved in skewing differentiation patterns, altering communication with the microenvironment, or dictating tissue response to various tissue stresses.