Evaluation of intestinal trophism: review of current methods and techniques

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Purpose of review

This review aims to cover the methods and techniques currently used by researchers to evaluate intestinal trophism.

Recent findings

Although subjected to criticisms, conventional gut trophism evaluation by both morphological and histological parameters continues to be largely reported. The metaphase arrest technique and the detection of 3H-tymidine have been used less frequently in recent years due to increasing interest in the immunohistochemical methods such as 5-bromo-2′deoxy-uridine, Ki-67, and proliferating cell nuclear antigen. Along with common techniques for the evaluation of intestinal trophism, the combination of methods that includes a measurement of cell proliferation and an apoptotic index in the same study are most valuable and are increasing in the current literature.


Evaluation of intestinal trophism is an important issue for both clinical and experimental nutritional studies. The immunohistochemical techniques are the gold standard to access cell proliferation. Evaluation of proliferation and apoptosis at the same time may offer a more reliable evaluation of the actual status of gut trophism.

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