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The glandular stomach has two major zones: the acid secreting corpus and the gastrin cell-containing antrum. Nevertheless, a single gland lies at the transition between the forestomach and corpus in the mouse stomach. We have sought to define the lineages that make up this gland unit at the squamocolumnar junction. The first gland in mice showed a notable absence of characteristic corpus lineages, including parietal cells and chief cells. In contrast, the gland showed strong staining of Griffonia simplicifolia-II (GSII)-lectin-positive mucous cells at the bases of glands, which were also positive for CD44 variant 9 and Clusterin. Prominent numbers of doublecortin-like kinase 1 (DCLK1) positive tuft cells were present in the first gland. The first gland contained Lgr5-expressing putative progenitor cells, and a large proportion of the cells were positive for Sox2. The cells of the first gland stained strongly for MUC4 and EpCAM, but both were absent in the normal corpus mucosa. The present studies indicate that the first gland in the corpus represents a unique anatomic entity. The presence of a concentration of progenitor cells and sensory tuft cells in this gland suggests that it may represent a source of reserve reparative cells for adapting to severe mucosal damage.
Spasmolytic polypeptide-expressing metaplasia (SPEM) and intestinal metaplasia are considered neoplastic precursors of gastric adenocarcinoma in humans. Loss of parietal cells causes the development of SPEM in the gastric corpus and then chronic inflammation drives SPEM toward a more proliferative lineage. Mongolian gerbils infected with Helicobacter pylori develop chronic gastritis and metaplasia, mimicking aspects of human gastritis with H. pylori infection. We therefore examined metaplastic lineages in the gastric corpus mucosa of gerbils infected by H. pylori strain 7.13, which produces rapid onset of severe inflammation. Six weeks following H. pylori infection, Griffonia simplicifolia lectin II (GSII)-positive SPEM developed in the base of oxyntic glands in association with parietal cell loss and inflammation. In association with severe inflammation, SPEM glands evolved into aberrant phenotypes, including branched lesions, dilated lesions, and penetrating invasive glands. Mucin 4 (MUC4) was up-regulated in SPEM and progressive SPEM. Clusterin was expressed in the tips of branched and dilated lesions and throughout regions of invasive glands. Intriguingly, clusterin-positive regions in these lesions expressed Ki67 and matrix metalloproteinase 7 (MMP-7). These same regions were also positive for expression of phospho-IkBα, suggestive of activated NFkB signalling. These findings suggest that clusterin-positive regions in progressive phenotypes of SPEM have invasive characteristics. Thus, H. pylori infection in gerbils induces SPEM, which then can progress to further aberrant and invasive metaplastic phenotypes. Copyright © 2016 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Copyright © 2016 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
MUC4 is a large, heavily glycosylated transmembrane mucin, that is implicated in the pathogenesis of various types of cancers. To date, no extensive study has been done to check the expression and functional significance of MUC4 in different types of gastric adenocarcinomas. Here, we report the expression profile of MUC4 in gastric adenocarcinomas and its function in poorly differentiated gastric non-signet ring cell carcinoma (non-SRCC) type cells. Immunohistochemical analysis using tissue microarray (TMA) showed a significant difference in MUC4 expression between normal adjacent (n = 45) and gastric adenocarcinoma (n = 83; P < 0.001). MUC4 expression was not associated with tumour type, stage or with the degree of differentiation. To gain further insight into the significance of MUC4 expression in gastric non-SRCC cells, MUC4 was ectopically expressed in AGS, a poorly differentiated gastric non-signet ring cell line. The MUC4 overexpressing cells (AGS-MUC4) showed a significant increase (P < 0.005) in cell motility and a decrease in cellular aggregation as compared with the vector-transfected cells. Furthermore, in vivo tumorigenicity analysis revealed that animals transplanted with the MUC4 overexpressing cells (AGS-MUC4) had a greater incidence of tumours (83%) in comparison to empty vector control (17%). In addition, the expression of MUC4 resulted in enhanced expression of total cellular ErbB2 and phosphorylated ErbB2. In conclusion, our results showed that MUC4 is overexpressed in gastric adenocarcinoma tissues, and that it has a role in promoting aggressive properties in poorly differentiated gastric non-SRCC cells through the activation of the ErbB2 oncoprotein.