Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 4, 721-732 (September 2003) | doi:10.1038/nrm1203

Trefoil factors: initiators of mucosal healing

Douglas Taupin1 & Daniel K. Podolsky2  About the authors


Maintaining the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract, despite the continual presence of microbial flora and injurious agents, is essential. Epithelial continuity depends on a family of small, yet abundant, secreted proteins — the trefoil factors (TFFs). TFFs protect mucous epithelia from a range of insults and contribute to mucosal repair, although the signalling events that mediate these responses are only partially understood.

Author affiliations

  1. The Canberra Hospital, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.
  2. Gastrointestinal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.

Correspondence to: Daniel K. Podolsky2 Email:

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