Revista Brasileira de Saúde Materno Infantil
Print version ISSN 1519-3829
KAEFFER, Bertrand. Exfoliated epithelial cells: potentials to explore gastrointestinal maturation of preterm infants. Rev. Bras. Saude Mater. Infant. [online]. 2010, vol.10, n.1, pp. 13-24. ISSN 1519-3829. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1519-38292010000100002.
Exfoliated epithelial cells represent valuable source of information on the physiopathological state of the mucosa. However, the interpretation of data obtained from exfoliated cells is complicated by the conditions of isolation as well as the health of the subject. Exfoliation is either: a) a natural loss of body cells implying a molecular signal related to the turnover of terminally differentiated cells and to the progressive mobilization of proliferative as well as stem cells or b) the result of manual exfoliation by applying mechanical constraints like scraping. Depending on the methodology of isolation, exfoliated epithelial cells are believed to be either in apoptosis or in anoïkis. Most studies are using microscopic examination to demonstrate the presence of typical cells along with measurements on a limited number of biomarkers. Only few studies using proteomics or transcriptomics are available and they open discussion about tissue references and normalization. The main advantage of measures realized on exfoliated epithelial cells is that they are strictly non-invasive and open the possibility to evaluate maturation of gastric and intestinal tissues in long-term experiments performed on the same animal or in translational research on samples recovered from preterm infants.
Keywords : Mammals; Biological clocks; Gut; Neonate; Premature; Epithelial cells.