γ-ray-induced apoptosis in transgenic mice with proliferative abnormalities in their intestinal epithelium: Re-entry of villus enterocytes into the cell cycle does not affect their radioresistance but enhances the radiosensitivity of the crypt by inducing p53

Craig M. Coopersmith, Jeffrey I. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

The radiosensitivity of proliferating crypt epithelial cells makes the gut a major limiting factor in the use of radiotherapy for treatment of abdominal cancers. As post-mitotic epithelial cells migrate from mouse small intestinal crypts to the base of adjacent villi, they rapidly lose their ability to undergo apoptosis in response to ionizing irradiation (IR). To determine whether this radioresistance reflects withdrawal from the cell cycle, we used a lineage-specific promoter to direct expression of wild type Simian virus 40 T antigen (SV40 TAg(Wt)) to villus, but not crypt, enterocytes in FVB/N transgenic mice. SV40 TAg(Wt) induced, pRB-dependent, re-entry into the cell cycle is not associated with the acquisition of IR-stimulated apoptosis 4 h or 24 h after 6 Gy or 12 Gy of γ-irradiation. Co-expression of SV40 TAg(Wt) and K-ras(Val12) produces dysplasia in cycling villus enterocytes but no shift towards apoptotic responsiveness to IR. These findings suggest that the radioresistance of villus enterocytes is not simply due to their cell cycle arrest and may be a reflection of their microenvironment. Remarkably, reentry of villus enterocytes to the cell cycle increases the radiosensitivity of the crypt epithelium without changing Bcl-2, Bcl-x(L), Bak, or Bax expression. This effect is only manifest after IR and, based upon results obtained with mutant SV40 TAgs, depends upon reaching a critical level of proliferation in villus enterocytes. Like the normal crypt response to IR, the villus-derived enhancement of IR-stimulated crypt apoptosis is associated with an induction of p53 and Raf-1, and is dependent upon p53. Unlike the normal crypt response to IR, the p53 induction involves cells distributed throughout the crypt and the apoptotic response is not confined to the lower half of the crypt. These results indicate that signals initiated by cycling enterocytes can be transmitted to the crypt epithelium to induce p53 and influence their IR-induced apoptosis. Understanding the underlying signaling pathways may provide clues about how to modify a normal crypt's radiosensitivity for therapeutic benefit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-141
Number of pages11
JournalOncogene
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

Keywords

  • Apoptosis
  • Cell cycle
  • Intestinal epithelium
  • Radiation
  • Transgenic mice
  • p53

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