Roles for p21 waf1/cip1 and p27 kip1 during the adaptation response to massive intestinal resection

Wolfgang Stehr, Nicole P. Bernal, Christopher R. Erwin, Kathryn Q. Bernabe, Jun Guo, Brad W. Warner

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13 Scopus citations


The magnitude of gut adaptation is a decisive factor in determining whether patients are able to live independent of parenteral nutrition after massive small bowel loss. We previously established that the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (CDKI) p21 waf1/cip1 is necessary for enterocyte proliferation and a normal adaptation response. In the present study, we have further elucidated the role of this CDKI in the context of p27 kip1, another member of the Cip/Kip CDKI family. Small bowel resections (SBRs) or sham operations were performed in control (C57/BL6), p21 waf1/cip1-null, p27 kip1-null, and p21 waf1/cip1/p27 kip1 double-null mice. Morphological (villus height/crypt depth) alterations in the mucosa, the kinetics of enterocyte turnover (rates of enterocyte proliferation and apoptosis), and the protein expression of various cell cycle-regulatory proteins were recorded at various post-operative times. Enterocyte compartment-specific mRNA expression was investigated using laser capture microdissection. Resection-induced adaptation in control mice coincided with increased protein expression of p21 waf1/cip1 and decreased p27 kip1 within 3 days postoperatively. Identical changes in mRNA expression were detected in crypt but not in villus enterocytes. Adaptation occurred normally in control and p27 kip1-null mice; however, mice deficient in both p21 waf1/cip1 and p27 kip1 failed to increase baseline rates of enterocyte proliferation and adaptation. The expression of p21 waf1/cip1 protein and mRNA in the proliferative crypt compartment is necessary for resection-induced enterocyte proliferation and adaptation. The finding that deficient expression of p27 kip1 does not affect adaptation suggests that these similar CDKI family members display distinctive cellular functions during the complex process of intestinal adaptation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G933-G941
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Apoptosis
  • Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor
  • Enterocyte proliferation


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