A nomenclature for intestinal in vitro cultures

Matthias Stelzner, Michael Helmrath, James C.Y. Dunn, Susan J. Henning, Courtney W. Houchen, Calvin Kuo, John Lynch, Linheng Li, Scott T. Magness, Martin G. Martin, Melissa H. Wong, Jian Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


Many advances have been reported in the long-term culture of intestinal mucosal cells in recent years. A significant number of publications have described new culture media, cell formations, and growth patterns. Furthermore, it is now possible to study, e.g., the capabilities of isolated stem cells or the interactions between stem cells and mesenchyme. However, at the moment there is significant variation in the way these structures are described and named. A standardized nomenclature would benefit the ability to communicate and compare findings from different laboratories using the different culture systems. To address this issue, members of the NIH Intestinal Stem Cell Consortium herein propose a systematic nomenclature for in vitro cultures of the small and large intestine. We begin by describing the structures that are generated by preparative steps. We then define and describe structures produced in vitro, specifically: enterosphere, enteroid, reconstituted intestinal organoid, induced intestinal organoid, colonosphere, colonoid, and colonic or-ganoid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G1359-G1363
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2012


  • Cell culture
  • Colon
  • Crypt
  • Intestinal organoid
  • Small intestine
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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