Mechanical forces directing intestinal form and function

Ronja M. Houtekamer, Mirjam C. van der Net, Madelon M. Maurice, Martijn Gloerich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The vertebrate intestine experiences a range of intrinsically generated and external forces during both development and adult homeostasis. It is increasingly understood how the coordination of these forces shapes the intestine through organ-scale folding and epithelial organization into crypt–villus compartments. Moreover, accumulating evidence shows that several cell types in the adult intestine can sense and respond to forces to regulate key cellular processes underlying adult intestinal functions and self-renewal. In this way, transduction of forces may direct both intestinal homeostasis as well as adaptation to external stimuli, such as food ingestion or injury. In this review, we will discuss recent insights from complementary model systems into the force-dependent mechanisms that establish and maintain the unique architecture of the intestine, as well as its homeostatic regulation and function throughout adult life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R791-R805
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2022


  • Adult
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa/metabolism


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