An animal model to evaluate the function and regulation of the adaptively evolving stress protein SEP53 in oesophageal bile damage responses.
ABSTRACT: Squamous epithelium in mammals has evolved an atypical stress response involving down-regulation of the classic HSP70 protein and induction of sets of proteins including one named SEP53. This atypical stress response might be due to the unusual environmental pressures placed on squamous tissue. In fact, SEP53 plays a role as an anti-apoptotic factor in response to DNA damage induced by deoxycholic acid stresses implicated in oesophageal reflux disease. SEP53 also has a genetic signature characteristic of an adaptively and rapidly evolving gene, and this observation has been used to imply a role for SEP53 in immunity. Physiological models of squamous tissue are required to further define the regulation and function of SEP53. We examined whether porcine squamous epithelium would be a good model to study SEP53, since this animal suffers from a bile-reflux disease in squamous oesophageal tissue. We have (1) cloned and sequenced the porcine SEP53 locus from porcine bacterial artificial chromosome genomic DNA, (2) confirmed the strikingly divergent nature of the C-terminal portion of the SEP53 gene amongst mammals, (3) discovered that a function of the conserved N-terminal domain of the gene is to maintain cytoplasmic localisation, and (4) examined SEP53 expression in normal and diseased porcine pars oesophagea. SEP53 expression in porcine tissue was relatively confined to gastric squamous epithelium, consistent with its expression in normal human squamous epithelium. Immunohistochemical staining for SEP53 protein in normal and damaged pars oesophagea demonstrated significant stabilisation of SEP53 protein in the injured tissue. These results suggest that porcine squamous epithelium would be a robust physiological model to examine the evolution and function of the SEP53 stress pathway in modulating stress-induced responses in squamous tissue.
Project description:As a major cellular defence mechanism, the Nrf2/Keap1 pathway regulates expression of genes involved in detoxification and stress response. Here we hypothesise that Nrf2 is involved in oesophageal barrier function and plays a protective role against gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD).Human oesophageal biopsy samples, mouse surgical models and Nrf2(-/-) mice were used to assess the role of the Nrf2/Keap1 pathway in oesophageal barrier function. Trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TEER) was measured with mini-Ussing chambers. HE staining and transmission electron microscopy were used to examine tissue morphology, while gene microarray, immunohistochemistry, western blotting and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) analysis were used to assess gene expression.Nrf2 was expressed in normal oesophageal epithelium and activated in GERD of both humans and mice. Nrf2 deficiency and gastro-oesophageal reflux in mice, alone or in combination, reduced TEER and increased intercellular space in oesophageal epithelium. Nrf2 target genes and gene sets associated with oxidoreductase activity, mitochondrial biogenesis and energy production were downregulated in the oesophageal epithelium of Nrf2(-/-) mice. Consistent with the antioxidative function of Nrf2, a DNA oxidative damage marker (8OHdG) dramatically increased in oesophageal epithelial cells of Nrf2(-/-) mice compared with those of wild-type mice. Interestingly, ATP biogenesis, Cox IV (a mitochondrial protein) and Claudin 4 (Cldn4) expression were downregulated in the oesophageal epithelium of Nrf2(-/-) mice, suggesting that energy-dependent tight junction integrity was subject to Nrf2 regulation. ChIP analysis confirmed the binding of Nrf2 to Cldn4 promoter.Nrf2 deficiency impairs oesophageal barrier function through disrupting energy-dependent tight junction.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The oesophageal epithelium is exposed routinely to noxious agents in the environment, including gastric acid, thermal stress, and chemical toxins. These epithelial cells have presumably evolved effective protective mechanisms to withstand tissue damage and repair injured cells. Heat shock protein or stress protein responses play a central role in protecting distinct cell types from different types of injury. AIM: To determine (i) whether biochemical analysis of stress protein responses in pinch biopsy specimens from human oesophageal epithelium is feasible; (ii) whether undue stresses are imposed on cells by the act of sample collection, thus precluding analysis of stress responses; and (iii) if amenable to experimentation, the type of heat shock protein (Hsp) response that operates in the human oesophageal epithelium. METHODS: Tissue from the human oesophagus comprised predominantly of squamous epithelium was acquired within two hours of biopsy and subjected to an in vitro heat shock. Soluble tissue cell lysates derived from untreated or heat shocked samples were examined using denaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis for changes in: (i) the pattern of general protein synthesis by labelling epithelial cells with 35S-methionine and (ii) the levels of soluble Hsp70 protein and related isoforms using immunochemical protein blots. RESULTS: A single pinch biopsy specimen is sufficient to extract and analyse specific sets of polypeptides in the oesophageal epithelium. After ex vivo heat shock, a classic inhibition of general protein synthesis is observed and correlates with the increased synthesis of two major proteins of molecular weight of 60 and 70 kDa. Notably, cells from unheated controls exhibit a "stressed" biochemical state 22 hours after incubation at 37 degrees C, as shown by inhibition of general protein synthesis and increased synthesis of the 70 kDa protein. These data indicate that only freshly acquired specimens are suitable for studying stress responses ex vivo. No evidence was found that the two heat induced polypeptides are previously identified Hsp70 isoforms. In fact, heat shock results in a reduction in the steady state concentrations of Hsp70 protein in the oesophageal epithelium. CONCLUSION: Systematic and highly controlled studies on protein biochemistry are possible on epithelial biopsy specimens from the human oesophagus. These technical innovations have permitted the discovery of a novel heat shock response operating in the oesophageal epithelium. Notably, two polypeptides were synthesised after heat shock that seem to differ from Hsp70 protein. In addition, the striking reduction in steady state concentrations of Hsp70 protein after heat shock suggests that oesophageal epithelium has evolved an atypical biochemical response to thermal stress.
Project description:Barrett's oesophagus is a precursor of oesophageal adenocarcinoma. In this common condition, squamous epithelium in the oesophagus is replaced by columnar epithelium in response to acid reflux. Barrett's oesophagus is highly heterogeneous and its relationships to normal tissues are unclear. Here we investigate the cellular complexity of Barrett's oesophagus and the upper gastrointestinal tract using RNA-sequencing of single cells from multiple biopsies from six patients with Barrett's oesophagus and two patients without oesophageal pathology. We find that cell populations in Barrett's oesophagus, marked by LEFTY1 and OLFM4, exhibit a profound transcriptional overlap with oesophageal submucosal gland cells, but not with gastric or duodenal cells. Additionally, SPINK4 and ITLN1 mark cells that precede morphologically identifiable goblet cells in colon and Barrett's oesophagus, potentially aiding the identification of metaplasia. Our findings reveal striking transcriptional relationships between normal tissue populations and cells in a premalignant condition, with implications for clinical practice.
Project description:The fundamental mechanisms underlying erosive oesophagitis and subsequent development of Barrett's oesophagus (BO) are poorly understood. Here, we investigated the contribution of specific components of the gastric refluxate on adhesion molecules involved in epithelial barrier maintenance. Cell line models of squamous epithelium (HET-1A) and BO (QH) were used to examine the effects of bile acids on cell adhesion to extracellular matrix proteins (Collagen, laminin, vitronectin, fibronectin) and expression of integrin ligands (?3 , ?4, ?5 , ?6 and ?? ). Experimental findings were validated in human explant oesophageal biopsies, a rat model of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and in patient tissue microarrays. The bile acid deoxycholic acid (DCA) specifically reduced adhesion of HET-1A cells to vitronectin and reduced cell-surface expression of integrin-?? via effects on endocytic recycling processes. Increased expression of integrin-?v was observed in ulcerated tissue in a rat model of GORD and in oesophagitis and Barrett's intestinal metaplasia patient tissue compared to normal squamous epithelium. Increased expression of integrin-?? was observed in QH BO cells compared to HET-1A cells. QH cells were resistant to DCA-mediated loss of adhesion and reduction in cell-surface expression of integrin-?? . We demonstrated that a specific component of the gastric refluxate, DCA, affects the epithelial barrier through modulation of integrin ?? expression, providing a novel mechanism for bile acid-mediated erosion of oesophageal squamous epithelium and promotion of BO. Strategies aimed at preventing bile acid-mediated erosion should be considered in the clinical management of patients with GORD.
Project description:About one-third of patients with suspected gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) do not respond symptomatically to proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Many of these patients do not suffer from GERD, but may have underlying functional heartburn or atypical chest pain. Other causes of failure to respond to PPIs include inadequate acid suppression, non-acid reflux, oesophageal hypersensitivity, oesophageal dysmotility and psychological comorbidities. Functional oesophageal tests can exclude cardiac and structural causes, as well as help to confi rm or exclude GERD. The use of PPIs should only be continued in the presence of acid reflux or oesophageal hypersensitivity for acid reflux-related events that is proven on functional oesophageal tests.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The response of the oesophagus to refluxed gastric contents is likely to depend on intact neural mechanisms in the oesophageal mucosa. The epithelial innervation has not been systematically evaluated in health or reflux disease. AIMS: To study oesophageal epithelial innervation in controls, and also inflamed and non-inflamed mucosa in patients with reflux oesophagitis and healed oesophagitis. PATIENTS: Ten controls, nine patients with reflux oesophagitis, and five patients with healed oesophagitis. METHODS: Oesophageal epithelial biopsy specimens were obtained at endoscopy. The distribution of the neuronal marker protein gene product 9.5 (PGP), and the neuropeptides calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP), neuropeptide Y (NPY), substance P (SP), and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) were investigated by immunohistochemistry. Density of innervation was assessed by the proportion of papillae in each oesophageal epithelial biopsy specimen containing immunoreactive fibres (found in the subepithelium and epithelial papillae, but not penetrating the epithelium). RESULTS: The proportion of papillae positive for PGP immunoreactive nerve fibres was significantly increased in inflamed tissue when compared with controls, and non-inflamed and healed tissue. There was also a significant increase in VIP immunoreactive fibres within epithelial papillae. Other neuropeptides showed no proportional changes in inflammation. CONCLUSIONS: Epithelial biopsy specimens can be used to assess innervation in the oesophagus. The innervation of the oesophageal mucosa is not altered in non-inflamed tissue of patients with oesophagitis but alters in response to inflammation, where there is a selective increase (about three- to fourfold) in VIP containing nerves.
Project description:In several organ systems, the transitional zone between different types of epithelium is a hotspot for pre-neoplastic metaplasia and malignancy, but the cells of origin for these metaplastic epithelia and subsequent malignancies remain unknown. In the case of Barrett's oesophagus, intestinal metaplasia occurs at the gastro-oesophageal junction, where stratified squamous epithelium transitions into simple columnar cells. On the basis of a number of experimental models, several alternative cell types have been proposed as the source of this metaplasia but in all cases the evidence is inconclusive: no model completely mimics Barrett's oesophagus in terms of the presence of intestinal goblet cells. Here we describe a transitional columnar epithelium with distinct basal progenitor cells (p63+KRT5+KRT7+) at the squamous-columnar junction of the upper gastrointestinal tract in a mouse model. We use multiple models and lineage tracing strategies to show that this squamous-columnar junction basal cell population serves as a source of progenitors for the transitional epithelium. On ectopic expression of CDX2, these transitional basal progenitors differentiate into intestinal-like epithelium (including goblet cells) and thereby reproduce Barrett's metaplasia. A similar transitional columnar epithelium is present at the transitional zones of other mouse tissues (including the anorectal junction) as well as in the gastro-oesophageal junction in the human gut. Acid reflux-induced oesophagitis and the multilayered epithelium (believed to be a precursor of Barrett's oesophagus) are both characterized by the expansion of the transitional basal progenitor cells. Our findings reveal a previously unidentified transitional zone in the epithelium of the upper gastrointestinal tract and provide evidence that the p63+KRT5+KRT7+ basal cells in this zone are the cells of origin for multi-layered epithelium and Barrett's oesophagus.
Project description:Squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus is a common cancer among South Africans. Due to the absence of effective screening and surveillance programme for early detection and late presentation, squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage or when metastasis has already occurred. The 5-year survival is often quoted at 5%-10%, which is poor.To determine the association between oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and non-acid gastro-oesophageal reflux disease.Study design: A cross-sectional case-control analytical study of patients referred to the Gastroenterology Division of Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, South Africa. All patients had combined multichannel impedance and pH studies done and interpreted after upper gastroscopy using the American College of Gastroenterology guidelines by two clinicians.Thirty-two patients with OSCC were recruited: non-acid reflux was found in 23 patients (73%), acid reflux in 2 patients (6%) and 7 patients (22%) had normal multichannel impedance and pH studies.Forty-nine patients matched by age, gender and race were recruited as a control group. Non-acid reflux was found in 11 patients (22%), acid reflux in 31 patients (63%) and 7 patients (14%) had normal multichannel impedance and pH monitoring study.The significance of the association between non-acid reflux and OSCC was tested using ?2, and simple logistic regression was used to adjust for the effects of potential confounders.The OR of developing OSCC in patients with non-acid gastro-oesophageal reflux was 8.8 (95% CI 3.2 to 24.5, P<0.0001) in this South African group.Alcohol and smoking had no effect on these results.
Project description:Patients with (previous) head and neck cancer (HNC) are at high risk for developing second squamous cell cancer of the oesophagus. The role of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in oesophageal squamous carcinogenesis has not yet been investigated in this high-risk group. Therefore, this study examined COX-2 mRNA and protein expression in oesophageal biopsies and resected tissues of 44 HNC patients. The evaluation covered 55 oesophageal tissue samples (18 invasive oesophageal squamous cell cancers, four high- and eight low-grade dysplasias, 25 normal squamous epithelia) from the 44 patients. mRNA levels of COX-2 were measured by real-time PCR using a LightCycler. COX-2 protein expression was studied immunohistochemically and graded by a staining score. COX-2 mRNA was detected in all samples, and its levels correlated positively with the immunohistochemical staining score (P<0.05). COX-2 expression was upregulated during oesophageal squamous carcinogenesis in HNC patients, that is COX-2 expression increased significantly from normal oesophageal squamous epithelium to low- and high-grade dysplasia and finally to invasive squamous cell cancer (P<0.001). Our findings suggest that COX-2 upregulation contributes to oesophageal squamous carcinogenesis in HNC patients. Prospective studies are needed to evaluate the chemopreventive potential of COX-2 inhibitors in this high-risk group.
Project description:Chronic inflammatory gastric reflux alters the esophageal microenvironment and induces metaplastic transformation of the epithelium, a precancerous condition termed Barrett's esophagus (BE). The microenvironmental niche, which includes the extracellular matrix (ECM), substantially influences cell phenotype. ECM harvested from normal porcine esophageal mucosa (eECM) was formulated as a mucoadhesive hydrogel, and shown to largely retain basement membrane and matrix-cell adhesion proteins. Dogs with BE were treated orally with eECM hydrogel and omeprazole (n = 6) or omeprazole alone (n = 2) for 30 days. eECM treatment resolved esophagitis, reverted metaplasia to a normal, squamous epithelium in four of six animals, and downregulated the pro-inflammatory tumor necrosis factor-?+ cell infiltrate compared to control animals. The metaplastic tissue in control animals (n = 2) did not regress. The results suggest that in vivo alteration of the microenvironment with a site-appropriate, mucoadhesive ECM hydrogel can mitigate the inflammatory and metaplastic response in a dog model of BE.