Abstract

The plasticity of a material corresponds to its capacity to change its feature under the effect of an external action. Intestinal plasticity could be defined as the ability of the intestine to modify its size or thickness and intestinal cells to modulate their absorption and secretion functions in response to external or internal cues/signals. This review will focus on intestinal adaptation mechanisms in response to diet and nutritional status. These physiological mechanisms allow a fine and rapid adaptation of the gut to promote absorption of ingested food, but they can also lead to obesity in response to overnutrition. This plasticity could thus become a therapeutic target to treat not only undernutrition but also obesity. How the intestine adapts in response to 2 types of surgical remodeling of the digestive tract-extensive bowel resection leading to intestinal failure and surgical treatment of pathological obesity (ie, bariatric surgeries)-will also be reviewed.

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