Stem cells in intestinal lining may shed light on behavior of cancer cells

72a1238a-f8cc-40d7-9961-921417287886articleimage.jpg

29 Nov 2017 --- The lining of the intestines – the epithelium – has been found to do more than just absorb nutrients. It grows, shrinks, and adjusts the makeup of its cells in response to whatever has just been eaten, and understanding that process could give scientists new insights into the behavior of cancer cells, according to findings published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology.

“We are interested in how your diet affects the process of growth and renewal of intestinal epithelial cells, but we can learn so much more from this,” explains Megan Dailey, Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois. “For example, can you feed stem cells to make tissues of different sizes and cellular makeup? Can you tell a tissue that's proliferating when to stop growing?”

The ability of the intestinal lining to respond to food depends on stem cells which are tucked down in tiny crypts along the epithelium, the University of Illinois press release notes. Certain cues cause stem cells to grow more epithelium, to be able to handle a higher volume of food coming in.

“If I go on vacation and start eating more food, my tissues will grow. But at some point, I'll come back and my intestinal epithelium will stop growing and shrink back down,” Dailey says. “How do the stem cells know to grow it or when to stop? What's the signal?”

Shift from renewal to growth
Stem cells are always replacing cells that are lost during normal wear and tear in the intestines. Dailey says most adults’ stem cells are focused on this renewal process, rather than growth, most of the time.

Dailey and a team of researchers looked for signals and cellular responses of intestinal epithelial cells during growth and renewal. The team isolated stem cells from intestinal epithelial crypts in mice and exposed them to varying levels of glucose, representing levels normally seen before or after a meal.

Dailey clarifies that the study was not designed to simulate high- or low-sugar diets. She says glucose is always circulating at a low level in our blood stream. After any meal, there's a major surge of the nutrient.

The researchers suspected that the availability of glucose might trigger a shift from a renewal mode to a growth mode. To confirm this, they looked at the rates of two standard metabolic pathways that are associated with renewal (oxidative phosphorylation) and growth (glycolysis). Both pathways convert sugar or sugar products into the energy molecule ATP, but oxidative phosphorylation produces a lot more of the molecule.

The study showed that stem cells exposed to higher levels of glucose had higher rates of glycolysis, but rates of oxidative phosphorylation didn't change. In other words, the stem cells switched into a growth mode when exposed to more glucose.

“In the past, a switch from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis was thought to be an indication of cancer. Now we know it is just an indication of a cell that's proliferating. And our team was the first to find it in intestinal epithelial stem cells,” Dailey points out.

Next, the researchers investigated the driving force behind the switch to glycolysis, focusing on protein kinase networks associated with glucose transport into the cell. They assumed the same networks were operating in both low- and high-glucose conditions, and that they were more active when exposed to higher levels of glucose.

“Turns out, not the case,” Dailey says. “A totally different pathway is used under low and high glucose conditions. The stem cell is able to say, ‘I have high glucose and I am going to use different protein kinase networks to get it into the cell.’”

The use of two different protein kinase networks associated with renewal and cell proliferation has implications for cancer research. “If you want to stop cell proliferation by blocking protein kinase networks, you need to know what networks to target. We've shown that networks associated with growth are different from renewal,” Dailey says.

In addition to its cancer applications, the research provides some basic answers about how stem cells work and paves the way for further research, according to Dailey.

“We were approaching intestinal epithelial stem cells as a model system to ask: ‘How can you make tissues of different sizes and cellular makeup? Can you feed stem cells of your kidneys or bone marrow and get different types of tissue?’ There's a lot to learn, but we had to start from the beginning,” Dailey says.

The article, “Glucose stimulates intestinal epithelial crypt proliferation by modulating cellular energy metabolism,” is published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology.

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Health & Nutrition News

Morning workout: Speed up your metabolism with breakfast, study suggests

15 Aug 2018 --- Eating breakfast before exercise may “prime” the body to burn carbohydrates during exercise and more rapidly digest, absorb and metabolize food after working out, University of Bath researchers have shown in a study published in American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Health & Nutrition News

Baobab resurgence? Things are looking up for the “upside down” tree

14 Aug 2018 --- The baobab superfruit has been enjoying an NPD resurgence, boosted by renewed interest in the digestive health and low GI space, as well its strong potential for use in the sports nutrition market. The superfood – which is touted as offering low GI appeal, a high dietary fiber content and for being rich in vitamin C – has seen annual growth of 53 percent, according to Innova Market Insights data. Speaking to NutritionInsight, Henry Johnson, baobab specialist at EcoProducts, details the growing array of applications for the superfood, as well as the economic ripening of the environment for market growth for baobab.

Health & Nutrition News

GOS holds dietary fiber potential: FrieslandCampina eyes new applications

13 Aug 2018 --- FrieslandCampina is targeting the dietary fiber opportunity for its Galacto-Oligosaccharides (GOS). The move comes in response to the recent FDA green light on specific dietary fibers which presents new market opportunities and application areas. “There is a lot of interest in clean, green and label-friendly ingredients and fiber is one that they are looking for, but in good tasting applications. This really means a lot more flexibility for formulators to offer something that has both prebiotic and fiber benefits,” Sarah Staley of FrieslandCampina tells NutritionInsight on the topic of GOS as a trending prebiotic fiber.

Health & Nutrition News

Weekly roundup: Lycored awarded for campaign, Support for probiotics in countering depression

10 Aug 2018 --- This week, Lycored was awarded for their innovative #rethinkbeautiful campaign and Good in Bloom initiative, while a new study supports the hypothesis that the modification of microbial ecology in human gut by supplementing probiotics may be an alternative strategy to ameliorate or prevent depression.

Health & Nutrition News

Is keto a no no? Trending diet leads to increased risk of diabetes, suggests animal study

09 Aug 2018 --- Trending ketogenic diets, which are low carbohydrate high fat eating plans that are known to lead to weight loss, may cause an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes in the early stage of the diet, according to new research published in The Journal of Physiology. Zurich-based researchers showed that even though ketogenic diet fed animals appear healthy in the fasted state, they exhibit decreased glucose tolerance to a greater extent than high carbohydrate, high fat, western style diet (HFD) fed animals.

More Articles
URL : http://www.nutritioninsight.com:80/news/stem-cells-in-intestinal-lining-may-shed-light-on-behavior-of-cancer-cells.html