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Oxyntic atrophy in the stomach leads to chief cell transdifferentiation into spasmolytic polypeptide expressing metaplasia (SPEM). Investigations of preneoplastic metaplasias in the stomach are limited by the sole reliance on in vivo mouse models, owing to the lack of in vitro models for distinct normal mucosal lineages and metaplasias. Utilizing the Immortomouse, in vitro cell models of chief cells and SPEM were developed to study the characteristics of normal chief cells and metaplasia. Chief cells and SPEM cells isolated from Immortomice were cultured and characterized at both the permissive (33°C) and the nonpermissive temperature (39°C). Clones were selected on the basis of their transcriptional expression of specific stomach lineage markers (named ImChief and ImSPEM) and protein expression and growth were analyzed. The transcriptional expression profiles of ImChief and ImSPEM cells were compared further by using gene microarrays. ImChief cells transcriptionally express most chief cell markers and contain pepsinogen C and RAB3D-immunostaining vesicles. ImSPEM cells express the SPEM markers TFF2 and HE4 and constitutively secrete HE4. Whereas ImChief cells cease proliferation at the nonpermissive temperature, ImSPEM cells continue to proliferate at 39°C. Gene expression profiling of ImChief and ImSPEM revealed myelin and lymphocyte protein 2 (MAL2) as a novel marker of SPEM lineages. Our results indicate that the expression and proliferation profiles of the novel ImChief and ImSPEM cell lines resemble in vivo chief and SPEM cell lineages. These cell culture lines provide the first in vitro systems for studying the molecular mechanisms of the metaplastic transition in the stomach.
Upper gastrointestinal neoplasia in the esophagus, stomach, and pancreas is associated with the formation of preneoplastic metaplasias. We have previously reported the up-regulation of human epididymis protein 4 (HE4) in all metaplasias in the stomach of humans and mice. We have now sought to evaluate the expression of HE4 in metaplasias/preneoplastic precursors and cancers of the human stomach, pancreas, and esophagus. Tissue microarrays for gastric cancers, pancreatic cancers, and esophageal adenocarcinoma were stained with antibodies against HE4. Immunostaining was quantified by digital imaging, and the results were evaluated to assess the expression in metaplasias, the expression in cancer pathological subtypes, and the effects of expression on survival in patients with cancer. In patients with gastric cancer from Korea, HE4 was detected in 74% of intestinal and 90% of diffuse cancers, whereas in a gastric cancer cohort from Johns Hopkins, HE4 was detected in 74% of intestinal-type and 92% of diffuse cancers. Nevertheless, in both cohorts, there was no impact of HE4 expression on overall survival. In the esophagus, we observed the expression of HE4 in scattered endocrine cells within Barrett esophagus samples, but Barrett columnar metaplasias and HE4 were detected in only 2% of esophageal adenocarcinomas. Finally, in the pancreas, HE4 expression was not observed in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia lesions, but 46.8% of pancreatic adenocarcinomas expressed HE4. Still, we did not observe any influence of HE4 expression on survival. The results suggest that HE4 is up-regulated during gastric and pancreatic carcinogenesis.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.