Environmental enteropathy: Critical implications of a poorly understood condition

Poonum S. Korpe, William A. Petri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Environmental enteropathy (also called tropical enteropathy) is a subclinical condition caused by constant fecal-oral contamination and resulting in blunting of intestinal villi and intestinal inflammation. Although these histological changes were discovered decades ago, the clinical impact of environmental enteropathy is just starting to be recognized. The failure of nutritional interventions and oral vaccines in the developing world may be attributed to environmental enteropathy, as the intestinal absorptive and immunologic functions are significantly deranged. Here we review the existing literature and examine potential mechanisms of pathogenesis for this poorly understood condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-336
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Molecular Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmental enteropathy
  • Fecal-oral contamination
  • Malnutrition
  • Mucosal immunity
  • Oral vaccine failure
  • Stunting
  • Tropical enteropathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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