Enteric Nervous System Cell Replacement Therapy for Hirschsprung Disease: Beyond Tissue-Engineered Intestine

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Abstract

Hirschsprung disease (HD), a neurocristopathy characterized by failed migration of neural crest cells to the distal colon, requires surgical resection of the aganglionic segment. Advances in stem cell and regenerative medicine research have opened the possibility to treat HD less invasively using enteric nervous system (ENS) cell replacement therapy. This article reviews the progress to date of culturing and delivering ENS stem cells in various in vitro and in vivo models, as well as review the available evidence of functionality of the transplant-derived cells. Potential areas of future study are identified, and application of conditions other than HD is briefly discussed.

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