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Persistence of Lgr5+ colonic epithelial stem cells in mouse models of inflammatory bowel disease.

American journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology (2021-07-15)
Nandini Girish, Cambrian Y Liu, Safina Gadeock, Marie L Gomez, Ying Huang, Zohreh Sharifkhodaei, M Kay Washington, D Brent Polk
ABSTRACT

Intestinal mucosal healing is the primary therapeutic goal of medical treatments for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Epithelial stem cells are key players in the healing process. Lgr5+ stem cells maintain cellular turnover during homeostasis in the colonic crypt. However, they are lost and dispensable for repair in a wide variety of injury models, including dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) colitis, radiation, helminth infection, and T-cell activation. The direct loss of Lgr5+ cells activates a plasticity response in the epithelium in which other cell types can serve as stem cells. Whether this paradigm applies to mouse models of IBD remains unknown. In contrast to previously tested models, IBD models involve an inflammatory response rooted in the loss of immunologic tolerance to intestinal luminal contents including the microbiome. Here, we show the persistence of Lgr5+ cells in oxazolone, 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS), and Il10-/-, and Il10-/- Tnfr1-/- IBD models. This contrasts with results obtained from DSS-induced injury. Through high-throughput expression profiling, we find that these colitis models were associated with distinct patterns of cytokine expression. Direct exposure of colonic epithelial organoids to DSS, oxazolone, or TNBS resulted in increased apoptosis and loss of Lgr5+ cells. Targeted ablation of Lgr5+ cells resulted in severe exacerbation of chronic, antibody-induced IL-10-deficient colitis, but had only modest effects in TNBS-induced colitis. These results show that distinct mouse models of IBD-like colitis induce different patterns of Lgr5+ stem cell retention and function.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Acute intestinal injury and epithelial repair are associated with the loss of fast-cycling Lgr5+ stem cells and plasticity in the activation of formerly quiescent cell populations. In contrast, here we show in murine inflammatory bowel disease the persistence of the Lgr5+ stem cell population and its essential role in restricting the severity of chronic colitis. This demonstrates a diversity of stem cell responses to colitis.

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