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Survival of Exfoliated Epithelial Cells: A Delicate Balance between Anoikis and Apoptosis

Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Publication Date
  • Biology


The recovery of exfoliated cells from biological fluids is a noninvasive technology which is in high demand in the field of translational research. Exfoliated epithelial cells can be isolated from several body fluids (i.e., breast milk, urines, and digestives fluids) as a cellular mixture (senescent, apoptotic, proliferative, or quiescent cells). The most intriguing are quiescent cells which can be used to derive primary cultures indicating that some phenotypes retain clonogenic potentials. Such exfoliated cells are believed to enter rapidly in anoikis after exfoliation. Anoikis can be considered as an autophagic state promoting epithelial cell survival after a timely loss of contact with extracellular matrix and cell neighbors. This paper presents current understanding of exfoliation along with the influence of methodology on the type of gastrointestinal epithelial cells isolated and, finally, speculates on the balance between anoikis and apoptosis to explain the survival of gastrointestinal epithelial cells in the environment.

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