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Multipotent stem cells are cells that have the capacity to self-renew by dividing and to develop into multiple specialised cell types present in a specific tissue or organ. Most adult stem cells are multipotent stem cells.
This Perspectives describes the characteristics of stem and progenitor cells in the liver, biliary tree and pancreas. A hypothetical model of maturational cell lineages is presented, highlighting the common embryological origin of these organs. The potential of these stem and progenitor cells in regenerative medicine is discussed, along with their role in the pathophysiology and oncogenesis of midgut organs.