Biliary atresia (BA) is a destructive cholangiopathy of childhood in which Th1 immunity has been mechanistically linked to the bile duct inflammation and obstruction that culminate in liver injury. Based on reports of decreased Th1 cytokines in some patients and the development of BA in mice lacking CD4+ T cells, we hypothesized that Th1-independent mechanisms can also activate effector cells and induce BA. Here, we tested this hypothesis using Stat1–/– mice, which lack the ability to mount Th1 immune responses. Infection of Stat1–/– mice with rhesus rotavirus type A (RRV) on postnatal day 1 induced a prominent Th2 response, duct epithelial injury and obstruction within 7 days, and atresia shortly thereafter. A high degree of phosphorylation of the Th2 transcription factor Stat6 was observed; however, concurrent inactivation of Stat1 and Stat6 in mice did not prevent BA after RRV infection. In contrast, depletion of macrophages or combined loss of Il13 and Stat1 reduced tissue infiltration by lymphocytes and myeloid cells, maintained epithelial integrity, and prevented duct obstruction. In concordance with our mouse model, humans at the time of BA diagnosis exhibited differential hepatic expression of Th2 genes and serum Th2 cytokines. These findings demonstrate compatibility between Th2 commitment and the pathogenesis of BA, and suggest that patient subgrouping in future clinical trials should account for differences in Th2 status.
Jun Li, Kazuhiko Bessho, Pranavkumar Shivakumar, Reena Mourya, Sujit Kumar Mohanty, Jorge L. dos Santos, Irene K. Miura, Gilda Porta, Jorge A. Bezerra
Crohn disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are increasingly common, chronic forms of inflammatory bowel disease. The behavior of these diseases varies unpredictably among patients. Identification of reliable prognostic biomarkers would enable treatment to be personalized so that patients destined to experience aggressive disease could receive appropriately potent therapies from diagnosis, while those who will experience more indolent disease are not exposed to the risks and side effects of unnecessary immunosuppression. Using transcriptional profiling of circulating T cells isolated from patients with CD and UC, we identified analogous CD8+ T cell transcriptional signatures that divided patients into 2 otherwise indistinguishable subgroups. In both UC and CD, patients in these subgroups subsequently experienced very different disease courses. A substantially higher incidence of frequently relapsing disease was experienced by those patients in the subgroup defined by elevated expression of genes involved in antigen-dependent T cell responses, including signaling initiated by both IL-7 and TCR ligation — pathways previously associated with prognosis in unrelated autoimmune diseases. No equivalent correlation was observed with CD4+ T cell gene expression. This suggests that the course of otherwise distinct autoimmune and inflammatory conditions may be influenced by common pathways and identifies what we believe to be the first biomarker that can predict prognosis in both UC and CD from diagnosis, a major step toward personalized therapy.
James C. Lee, Paul A. Lyons, Eoin F. McKinney, John M. Sowerby, Edward J. Carr, Francesca Bredin, Hannah M. Rickman, Huzefa Ratlamwala, Alexander Hatton, Tim F. Rayner, Miles Parkes, Kenneth G.C. Smith
While there is evidence that specific T cell populations can promote the growth of established tumors, instances where T cell activity causes neoplasms to arise de novo are infrequent. Here, we employed two conditional mutagenesis systems to delete the TGF-β signaling pathway component Smad4 in T cells and observed the spontaneous development of massive polyps within the gastroduodenal regions of mice. The epithelial lesions contained increased levels of transcripts encoding IL-11, IL-6, TGF-β, IL-1β, and TNF-α, and lamina propria cells isolated from lesions contained abundant IL-17A+CD4+ T cells. Furthermore, we found that Smad4 deficiency attenuated TGF-β–mediated in vitro polarization of FoxP3+CD4+ T cells, but not IL-17A+CD4+ T cells, suggesting that the epithelial lesions may have arisen as a consequence of unchecked Th17 cell activity. Proinflammatory cytokine production likely accounted for the raised levels of IL-11, a cytokine known to promote gastric epithelial cell survival and hyperplasia. Consistent with IL-11 having a pathogenic role in this model, we found evidence of Stat3 activation in the gastric polyps. Thus, our data indicate that a chronic increase in gut Th17 cell activity can be associated with the development of premalignant lesions of the gastroduodenal region.
Jennifer Nancy Hahn, Vincent George Falck, Frank Robert Jirik
It is unclear whether neurogenesis occurs in the adult mammalian enteric nervous system (ENS). Neural crest–derived cells capable of forming multilineage colonies in culture, and neurons and glia upon transplantation into chick embryos, persist throughout adult life in the mammalian ENS. In this study we sought to determine the physiological function of these cells. We discovered that these cells could be identified based on CD49b expression and that they had characteristics of enteric glia, including p75, GFAP, S100B, and SOX10 expression. To test whether new neurons or glia arise in the adult gut under physiological conditions, we marked dividing progenitors with a thymidine analog in rodents under steady-state conditions, or during aging, pregnancy, dietary changes, hyperglycemia, or exercise. We also tested gut injuries including inflammation, irradiation, benzalkonium chloride treatment, partial gut stenosis, and glial ablation. We readily observed neurogenesis in a neurogenic region of the central nervous system, but not reproducibly in the adult ENS. Lineage tracing of glial cells with GFAP-Cre and GFAP-CreERT2 also detected little or no adult ENS neurogenesis. Neurogenesis in the adult gut is therefore very limited under the conditions we studied. In contrast, ENS gliogenesis was readily observed under steady-state conditions and after injury. Adult enteric glia thus have the potential to form neurons and glia in culture but are fated to form mainly glia under physiological conditions and after the injuries we studied.
Nancy M. Joseph, Shenghui He, Elsa Quintana, Yun-Gi Kim, Gabriel Núñez, Sean J. Morrison
Hirschsprung (HSCR) disease is a complex genetic disorder attributed to a failure of the enteric neural crest cells (ENCCs) to form ganglia in the hindgut. Hedgehog and Notch are implicated in mediating proliferation and differentiation of ENCCs. Nevertheless, how these signaling molecules may interact to mediate gut colonization by ENCCs and contribute to a primary etiology for HSCR are not known. Here, we report our pathway-based epistasis analysis of data generated by a genome-wide association study on HSCR disease, which indicates that specific genotype constellations of Patched (PTCH1) (which encodes a receptor for Hedgehog) and delta-like 3 (DLL3) (which encodes a receptor for Notch) SNPs confer higher risk to HSCR. Importantly, deletion of Ptch1 in mouse ENCCs induced robust Dll1 expression and activation of the Notch pathway, leading to premature gliogenesis and reduction of ENCC progenitors in mutant bowels. Dll1 integrated Hedgehog and Notch pathways to coordinate neuronal and glial cell differentiation during enteric nervous system development. In addition, Hedgehog-mediated gliogenesis was found to be highly conserved, such that Hedgehog was consistently able to promote gliogenesis of human neural crest–related precursors. Collectively, we defined PTCH1 and DLL3 as HSCR susceptibility genes and suggest that Hedgehog/Notch-induced premature gliogenesis may represent a new disease mechanism for HSCR.
Elly Sau-Wai Ngan, Maria-Mercè Garcia-Barceló, Benjamin Hon-Kei Yip, Hiu-Ching Poon, Sin-Ting Lau, Carmen Ka-Man Kwok, Eric Sat, Mai-Har Sham, Kenneth Kak-Yuen Wong, Brandon J. Wainwright, Stacey S. Cherny, Chi-Chung Hui, Pak Chung Sham, Vincent Chi-Hang Lui, Paul Kwong-Hang Tam
Although a relationship between emotional state and feeding behavior is known to exist, the interactions between signaling initiated by stimuli in the gut and exteroceptively generated emotions remain incompletely understood. Here, we investigated the interaction between nutrient-induced gut-brain signaling and sad emotion induced by musical and visual cues at the behavioral and neural level in healthy nonobese subjects undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. Subjects received an intragastric infusion of fatty acid solution or saline during neutral or sad emotion induction and rated sensations of hunger, fullness, and mood. We found an interaction between fatty acid infusion and emotion induction both in the behavioral readouts (hunger, mood) and at the level of neural activity in multiple pre-hypothesized regions of interest. Specifically, the behavioral and neural responses to sad emotion induction were attenuated by fatty acid infusion. These findings increase our understanding of the interplay among emotions, hunger, food intake, and meal-induced sensations in health, which may have important implications for a wide range of disorders, including obesity, eating disorders, and depression.
Lukas Van Oudenhove, Shane McKie, Daniel Lassman, Bilal Uddin, Peter Paine, Steven Coen, Lloyd Gregory, Jan Tack, Qasim Aziz
Probiotic bacteria can potentially have beneficial effects on the clinical course of several intestinal disorders, but our understanding of probiotic action is limited. We have identified a probiotic bacteria–derived soluble protein, p40, from Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), which prevents cytokine-induced apoptosis in intestinal epithelial cells. In the current study, we analyzed the mechanisms by which p40 regulates cellular responses in intestinal epithelial cells and p40’s effects on experimental colitis using mouse models. We show that the recombinant p40 protein activated EGFR, leading to Akt activation. Activation of EGFR by p40 was required for inhibition of cytokine-induced apoptosis in intestinal epithelial cells in vitro and ex vivo. Furthermore, we developed a pectin/zein hydrogel bead system to specifically deliver p40 to the mouse colon, which activated EGFR in colon epithelial cells. Administration of p40-containing beads reduced intestinal epithelial apoptosis and disruption of barrier function in the colon epithelium in an EGFR-dependent manner, thereby preventing and treating DSS-induced intestinal injury and acute colitis. Furthermore, p40 activation of EGFR was required for ameliorating colon epithelial cell apoptosis and chronic inflammation in oxazolone-induced colitis. These data define what we believe to be a previously unrecognized mechanism of probiotic-derived soluble proteins in protecting the intestine from injury and inflammation.
Fang Yan, Hanwei Cao, Timothy L. Cover, M. Kay Washington, Yan Shi, LinShu Liu, Rupesh Chaturvedi, Richard M. Peek Jr., Keith T. Wilson, D. Brent Polk
Patients with prolonged ulcerative colitis (UC) frequently develop colorectal adenocarcinoma for reasons that are not fully clear. To analyze inflammation-associated colonic tumorigenesis, we developed a chronic form of oxazolone-induced colitis in mice that, similar to UC, was distinguished by the presence of IL-13–producing NKT cells. In this model, the induction of tumors using azoxymethane was accompanied by the coappearance of F4/80+CD11bhighGr1low M2 macrophages, cells that undergo polarization by IL-13 and are absent in tumors that lack high level IL-13 production. Importantly, this subset of macrophages was a source of tumor-promoting factors, including IL-6. Similar to dextran sodium sulfate–induced colitis, F4/80+CD11bhighGr1intermediate macrophages were present in the mouse model of chronic oxazolone-induced colitis and may influence tumor development through production of TGF-β1, a cytokine that inhibits tumor immunosurveillance. Finally, while robust chronic oxazolone-induced colitis developed in myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88–deficient (Myd88–/–) mice, these mice did not support tumor development. The inhibition of tumor development in Myd88–/– mice correlated with cessation of IL-6 and TGF-β1 production by M2 and F4/80+CD11bhighGr1intermediate macrophages, respectively, and was reversed by exogenous IL-6. These data show that an UC-like inflammation may facilitate tumor development by providing a milieu favoring development of MyD88-dependent tumor-supporting macrophages.
Gabriela Schiechl, Bernhard Bauer, Ivan Fuss, Sven A. Lang, Christian Moser, Petra Ruemmele, Stefan Rose-John, Markus F. Neurath, Edward K. Geissler, Hans-Jürgen Schlitt, Warren Strober, Stefan Fichtner-Feigl
Intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) apoptosis contributes to the development of ulcerative colitis (UC), an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the colon and rectum. Therapies that target the inflammatory cytokine TNF have been found to inhibit IEC apoptosis in patients with IBD, although the mechanism of IEC apoptosis remains unclear. We therefore investigated the role of p53-upregulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA), a p53 target and proapoptotic BH3-only protein, in colitis and IEC apoptosis, using patient samples and mouse models of UC. In UC patient samples, PUMA expression was elevated in colitis tissues relative to that in uninvolved tissues, and the degree of elevation of PUMA expression correlated with the severity of colitis and the degree of apoptosis induction. In mice, PUMA was markedly induced in colonic epithelial cells following induction of colitis by either dextran sulfate sodium salt (DSS) or 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS). The induction of PUMA was p53-independent but required NF-κB. Absence of PUMA, but neither absence of p53 nor that of another BH3-only protein (Bid), relieved DSS- and TNBS-induced colitis and inhibited IEC apoptosis. Furthermore, treating mice with infliximab (Remicade), a clinically used TNF-specific antibody, suppressed DSS- and TNBS-induced PUMA expression and colitis. These results indicate that PUMA induction contributes to the pathogenesis of colitis by promoting IEC apoptosis and suggest that PUMA inhibition may be an effective strategy to promote mucosal healing in patients with UC.
Wei Qiu, Bin Wu, Xinwei Wang, Monica E. Buchanan, Miguel D. Regueiro, Douglas J. Hartman, Robert E. Schoen, Jian Yu, Lin Zhang
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that is closely associated with colon cancer. Expression of the enzyme heparanase is clearly linked to colon carcinoma progression, but its role in UC is unknown. Here we demonstrate for what we believe to be the first time the importance of heparanase in sustaining the immune-epithelial crosstalk underlying colitis-associated tumorigenesis. Using histological specimens from UC patients and a mouse model of dextran sodium sulfate–induced colitis, we found that heparanase was constantly overexpressed and activated throughout the disease. We demonstrate, using heparanase-overexpressing transgenic mice, that heparanase overexpression markedly increased the incidence and severity of colitis-associated colonic tumors. We found that highly coordinated interactions between the epithelial compartment (contributing heparanase) and mucosal macrophages preserved chronic inflammatory conditions and created a tumor-promoting microenvironment characterized by enhanced NF-κB signaling and induction of STAT3. Our results indicate that heparanase generates a vicious cycle that powers colitis and the associated tumorigenesis: heparanase, acting synergistically with the intestinal flora, stimulates macrophage activation, while macrophages induce production (via TNF-α–dependent mechanisms) and activation (via secretion of cathepsin L) of heparanase contributed by the colon epithelium. Thus, disruption of the heparanase-driven chronic inflammatory circuit is highly relevant to the design of therapeutic interventions in colitis and the associated cancer.
Immanuel Lerner, Esther Hermano, Eyal Zcharia, Dina Rodkin, Raanan Bulvik, Victoria Doviner, Ariel M. Rubinstein, Rivka Ishai-Michaeli, Ruth Atzmon, Yoav Sherman, Amichay Meirovitz, Tamar Peretz, Israel Vlodavsky, Michael Elkin
Expression of the transmembrane glycoprotein CD98 (encoded by SLC3A2) is increased in intestinal inflammatory conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and in various carcinomas, yet its pathogenetic role remains unknown. By generating gain- and loss-of-function mouse models with genetically manipulated CD98 expression specifically in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), we explored the role of CD98 in intestinal homeostasis, inflammation, and colitis-associated tumorigenesis. IEC-specific CD98 overexpression induced gut homeostatic defects and increased inflammatory responses to DSS-induced colitis, promoting colitis-associated tumorigenesis in mice. Further analysis indicated that the ability of IEC-specific CD98 overexpression to induce tumorigenesis was linked to its capacity to induce barrier dysfunction and to stimulate cell proliferation and production of proinflammatory mediators. To validate these results, we constructed mice carrying conditional floxed Slc3a2 alleles and crossed them with Villin-Cre mice such that CD98 was downregulated only in IECs. These mice exhibited attenuated inflammatory responses and resistance to both DSS-induced colitis and colitis-associated tumorigenesis. Together, our data show that intestinal CD98 expression has a crucial role in controlling homeostatic and innate immune responses in the gut. Modulation of CD98 expression in IECs therefore represents a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment and prevention of inflammatory intestinal diseases, such as IBD and colitis-associated cancer.
Hang Thi Thu Nguyen, Guillaume Dalmasso, Leif Torkvist, Jonas Halfvarson, Yutao Yan, Hamed Laroui, Doron Shmerling, Tiziano Tallone, Mauro D’Amato, Shanthi V. Sitaraman, Didier Merlin
Mucin-type O-linked oligosaccharides (O-glycans) are primary components of the intestinal mucins that form the mucus gel layer overlying the gut epithelium. Impaired expression of intestinal O-glycans has been observed in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), but its role in the etiology of this disease is unknown. Here, we report that mice with intestinal epithelial cell–specific deficiency of core 1–derived O-glycans, the predominant form of O-glycans, developed spontaneous colitis that resembled human UC, including massive myeloid infiltrates and crypt abscesses. The colitis manifested in these mice was also characterized by TNF-producing myeloid infiltrates in colon mucosa in the absence of lymphocytes, supporting an essential role for myeloid cells in colitis initiation. Furthermore, induced deletion of intestinal core 1–derived O-glycans caused spontaneous colitis in adult mice. These data indicate a causal role for the loss of core 1–derived O-glycans in colitis. Finally, we detected a biosynthetic intermediate typically exposed in the absence of core 1 O-glycan, Tn antigen, in the colon epithelium of a subset of UC patients. Somatic mutations in the X-linked gene that encodes core 1 β1,3-galactosyltransferase–specific chaperone 1 (C1GALT1C1, also known as Cosmc), which is essential for core 1 O-glycosylation, were found in Tn-positive epithelia. These data suggest what we believe to be a new molecular mechanism for the pathogenesis of UC.
Jianxin Fu, Bo Wei, Tao Wen, Malin E.V. Johansson, Xiaowei Liu, Emily Bradford, Kristina A. Thomsson, Samuel McGee, Lilah Mansour, Maomeng Tong, J. Michael McDaniel, Thomas J. Sferra, Jerrold Turner, Hong Chen, Gunnar C. Hansson, Jonathan Braun, Lijun Xia
Epithelial-cadherin (E-cadherin) is a master organizer of the epithelial phenotype. Its function is regulated in part by p120-catenin (referred to herein as p120), a cytoplasmic binding partner that directly regulates cadherin stability. As it has been suggested that cadherins have a role in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), we sought to investigate this further by assessing the effect of p120 deficiency in mouse small intestine and colon. p120 conditional KO mice were superficially normal at birth but declined rapidly and died within 21 days. Cell-cell adhesion defects and inflammation led to progressive mucosal erosion and terminal bleeding, similar to what is observed in a dominant-negative cadherin mouse model of IBD. Additionally, selective loss of adherens junctions and accumulation of atypical COX-2–expressing neutrophils in p120-null areas of the colon were observed. To elucidate the mechanism, direct effects of p120 deficiency were assessed in vitro in a polarizing colon cancer cell line. Notably, transepithelial electrical resistance was dramatically reduced, neutrophil binding was increased 30 fold, and levels of COX-2, an enzyme associated with IBD, were markedly increased in neutrophils. Our data suggest that p120 loss disrupts the neonatal intestinal barrier and amplifies neutrophil engagement and that these changes lead to catastrophic inflammation during colonization of the neonatal gut with bacteria and other luminal antigens. Thus, we conclude that p120 has an essential role in barrier function and epithelial homeostasis and survival in the intestine.
Whitney G. Smalley-Freed, Andrey Efimov, Patrick E. Burnett, Sarah P. Short, Michael A. Davis, Deborah L. Gumucio, M. Kay Washington, Robert J. Coffey, Albert B. Reynolds
Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions regulate normal gut epithelial homeostasis and have a putative role in inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer pathogenesis. Epimorphin is a mesenchymal and myofibroblast protein with antiproliferative, promorphogenic effects in intestinal epithelium. We previously showed that deletion of epimorphin partially protects mice from acute colitis, associated with an increase in crypt cell proliferation. Here we explored the potential therapeutic utility of modulating epimorphin expression by examining the effects of epimorphin deletion on chronic inflammation–associated colon carcinogenesis using the azoxymethane/dextran sodium sulfate (AOM/DSS) model. We found that mice in which epimorphin expression was absent had a marked reduction in incidence and extent of colonic dysplasia. Furthermore, epimorphin deletion in myofibroblasts altered the morphology and growth of cocultured epithelial cells. Loss of epimorphin affected secretion of soluble mesenchymal regulators of the stem cell niche such as Chordin. Importantly, IL-6 secretion from LPS-treated epimorphin-deficient myofibroblasts was completely inhibited, and stromal IL-6 expression was reduced in vivo. Taken together, these data show that epimorphin deletion inhibits chronic inflammation–associated colon carcinogenesis in mice, likely as a result of increased epithelial repair, decreased myofibroblast IL-6 secretion, and diminished IL-6–induced inflammation. Furthermore, we believe that modulation of epimorphin expression may have therapeutic benefits in appropriate clinical settings.
Anisa Shaker, Elzbieta A. Swietlicki, Lihua Wang, Shujun Jiang, Birce Onal, Shashi Bala, Katherine DeSchryver, Rodney Newberry, Marc S. Levin, Deborah C. Rubin
Enteropathy-associated T cell lymphoma is a severe complication of celiac disease (CD). One mechanism suggested to underlie its development is chronic exposure of intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) to potent antiapoptotic signals initiated by IL-15, a cytokine overexpressed in the enterocytes of individuals with CD. However, the signaling pathway by which IL-15 transmits these antiapoptotic signals has not been firmly established. Here we show that the survival signals delivered by IL-15 to freshly isolated human IELs and to human IEL cell lines derived from CD patients with type II refractory CD (RCDII) — a clinicopathological entity considered an intermediary step between CD and enteropathy-associated T cell lymphoma — depend on the antiapoptotic factors Bcl-2 and/or Bcl-xL. The signals also required IL-15Rβ, Jak3, and STAT5, but were independent of PI3K, ERK, and STAT3. Consistent with these data, IELs from patients with active CD and RCDII contained increased amounts of Bcl-xL, phospho-Jak3, and phospho-STAT5. Furthermore, incubation of patient duodenal biopsies with a fully humanized human IL-15–specific Ab effectively blocked Jak3 and STAT5 phosphorylation. In addition, treatment with this Ab induced IEL apoptosis and wiped out the massive IEL accumulation in mice overexpressing human IL-15 in their gut epithelium. Together, our results delineate the IL-15–driven survival pathway in human IELs and demonstrate that IL-15 and its downstream effectors are meaningful therapeutic targets in RCDII.
Georgia Malamut, Raja El Machhour, Nicolas Montcuquet, Séverine Martin-Lannerée, Isabelle Dusanter-Fourt, Virginie Verkarre, Jean-Jacques Mention, Gabriel Rahmi, Hiroshi Kiyono, Eric A. Butz, Nicole Brousse, Christophe Cellier, Nadine Cerf-Bensussan, Bertrand Meresse
Anion transport by the colonic mucosa maintains the hydration and pH of the colonic lumen, and its disruption causes a variety of diarrheal diseases. Cholinergic agonists raise cytosolic Ca2+ levels and stimulate anion secretion, but the mechanisms underlying this effect remain unclear. Cholinergic stimulation of anion secretion may occur via activation of Ca2+-activated Cl– channels (CaCCs) or an increase in the Cl– driving force through CFTR after activation of Ca2+-dependent K+ channels. Here we investigated the role of a candidate CaCC protein, bestrophin-2 (Best2), using Best2–/– mice. Cholinergic stimulation of anion current was greatly reduced in Best2–/– mice, consistent with our proposed role for Best2 as a CaCC. However, immunostaining revealed Best2 localized to the basolateral membrane of mucin-secreting colonic goblet cells, not the apical membrane of Cl–-secreting enterocytes. In addition, in the absence of HCO3–, cholinergic-activated current was identical in control and Best2–/– tissue preparations, which suggests that most of the Best2 current was carried by HCO3–. These data delineate an alternative model of cholinergic regulation of colonic anion secretion in which goblet cells play a critical role in HCO3– homeostasis. We therefore propose that Best2 is a HCO3– channel that works in concert with a Cl:HCO3– exchanger in the apical membrane to affect transcellular HCO3– transport. Furthermore, previous models implicating CFTR in cholinergic Cl– secretion may be explained by substantial downregulation of Best2 in Cftr–/– mice.
Kuai Yu, Rafael Lujan, Alan Marmorstein, Sherif Gabriel, H. Criss Hartzell
At least 10 enteroendocrine cell types have been identified, and the peptide hormones they secrete have diverse functions that include regulation of glucose homeostasis, food intake, and gastric emptying. Mice lacking individual enteroendocrine hormones, their receptors, or combinations of these have shed light on the role of these hormones in the regulation of energy homeostasis. However, because enteroendocrine hormones have partially overlapping functions, these loss-of-function studies produced only minor phenotypes, and none of the enteroendocrine hormones was shown to be essential for life. To examine the effect of loss of all enteroendocrine cells and hormones on energy homeostasis, we generated mice with intestinal-specific ablation of the proendocrine transcription factor neurogenin 3 (referred to herein as Ngn3Δint mice). Ngn3Δint mice were deficient for all enteroendocrine cells and hormones, and died with a high frequency during the first week of life. Mutant mice were growth retarded and had yellowish stool suggestive of steatorrhea. Subsequent analyses revealed that Ngn3Δint mice had impaired lipid absorption, reduced weight gain, and improved glucose homeostasis. Furthermore, intestinal epithelium of the mutant mice showed an enlarged proliferative crypt compartment and accelerated cell turnover but no changes to goblet and Paneth cell numbers. Enterocytes had shorter microvilli, but the expression of the main brush border enzymes was unaffected. Our data help unravel the role of enteroendocrine cells and hormones in lipid absorption and maintenance of the intestinal epithelium.
Georg Mellitzer, Anthony Beucher, Viviane Lobstein, Pascal Michel, Sylvie Robine, Michèle Kedinger, Gérard Gradwohl
Mary Abigail S. Garcia, Ning Yang, Paul M. Quinton
Intestinal ganglioneuromatosis is a benign proliferation of nerve ganglion cells, nerve fibers, and supporting cells of the enteric nervous system (ENS) that can result in abnormally large enteric neuronal cells (ENCs) in the myenteric plexus and chronic intestinal pseudoobstruction (CIPO). As phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) is a phosphatase that is critical for controlling cell growth, proliferation, and death, we investigated the role of PTEN in the ENS by generating mice with an embryonic, ENC-selective deletion within the Pten locus. Mutant mice died 2 to 3 weeks after birth, with clinical signs of CIPO and hyperplasia and hypertrophy of ENCs resulting from increased activity of the PI3K/PTEN-AKT-S6K signaling pathway. Further analysis revealed that PTEN was only expressed in developing mouse embryonic ENCs from E15.5 and that the rate of ENC proliferation decreased once PTEN was expressed. Specific deletion of the Pten gene in ENCs therefore induced hyperplasia and hypertrophy in the later stages of embryogenesis. This phenotype was reversed by administration of a pharmacological inhibitor of AKT. In some human ganglioneuromatosis forms of CIPO, PTEN expression was found to be abnormally low and S6 phosphorylation increased. Our study thus reveals that loss of PTEN disrupts development of the ENS and identifies the PI3K/PTEN-AKT-S6K signaling pathway as a potential therapeutic target for ganglioneuromatosis forms of CIPO.
Isabel Puig, Delphine Champeval, Pascal De Santa Barbara, Francis Jaubert, Stanislas Lyonnet, Lionel Larue
The pathogenic mechanisms underlying acute pancreatitis are not clear. Two key pathologic acinar cell responses of this disease are vacuole accumulation and trypsinogen activation. We show here that both result from defective autophagy, by comparing the autophagic responses in rodent models of acute pancreatitis to physiologic autophagy triggered by fasting. Pancreatitis-induced vacuoles in acinar cells were greater in number and much larger than those induced with fasting. Degradation of long-lived proteins, a measure of autophagic efficiency, was markedly inhibited in in vitro pancreatitis, while it was stimulated by acinar cell starvation. Further, processing of the lysosomal proteases cathepsin L (CatL) and CatB into their fully active, mature forms was reduced in pancreatitis, as were their activities in the lysosome-enriched subcellular fraction. These findings indicate that autophagy is retarded in pancreatitis due to deficient lysosomal degradation caused by impaired cathepsin processing. Trypsinogen activation occurred in pancreatitis but not with fasting and was prevented by inhibiting autophagy. A marker of trypsinogen activation partially localized to autophagic vacuoles, and pharmacologic inhibition of CatL increased the amount of active trypsin in acinar cells. The results suggest that retarded autophagy is associated with an imbalance between CatL, which degrades trypsinogen and trypsin, and CatB, which converts trypsinogen into trypsin, resulting in intra-acinar accumulation of active trypsin in pancreatitis. Thus, deficient lysosomal degradation may be a dominant mechanism for increased intra-acinar trypsin in pancreatitis.
Olga A. Mareninova, Kip Hermann, Samuel W. French, Mark S. O’Konski, Stephen J. Pandol, Paul Webster, Ann H. Erickson, Nobuhiko Katunuma, Fred S. Gorelick, Ilya Gukovsky, Anna S. Gukovskaya