Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jul 3;22(13):7196. doi: 10.3390/ijms22137196.
Regenerating gene (REG) family proteins serve as multifunctional secretory molecules with trophic, antiapoptotic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and probably immuno-regulatory effects. Since their discovery, accumulating evidence has clarified the potential roles of the REG family in the occurrence, progression and development of a wide range of inflammatory and inflammation-associated diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, significant gaps still exist due to the undefined nature of certain receptors, regulatory signaling pathways and possible interactions among distinct Reg members. In this narrative review, we first describe the structural features, distribution pattern and purported regulatory mechanisms of REG family proteins. Furthermore, we summarize the established and proposed roles of REG proteins in the pathogenesis of various inflammation-associated pathologies of the GI tract and the body as a whole, focusing particularly on carcinogenesis in the ulcerative colitis-colitic cancer sequence and gastric cancer. Finally, the clinical relevance of REG products in the context of diagnosis, treatment and prognostication are also discussed in detail. The current evidence suggests a need to better understanding the versatile roles of Reg family proteins in the pathogenesis of inflammatory-associated diseases, and their broadened future usage as therapeutic targets and prognostic biomarkers is anticipated.
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