Published online Nov 7, 2014. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i41.15216
Revised: March 18, 2014
Accepted: June 14, 2014
Published online: November 7, 2014
Core tip: The small and large intestine of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) have evolved to have different functions and have a distinct anatomy, biology and immunology. Despite this, findings from the small intestine are often inappropriately attributed to large intestine and vice versa. The importance of these biological differences is underlined when considering that different regions of the GIT are associated with different infections and pathologies. This review addresses the literature relating to the small and large intestine – clarifying the similarities and differences between the two sites. We also highlight the gaps in our understanding where further research is needed.