Gastrin is a peptide hormone involved in the growth of both normal and malignant gastrointestinal tissue. Recent studies suggest that the glycine-extended biosynthetic intermediates mediate many of these trophic effects, but the in vivo relevance of glycine-extended gastrin (G-Gly) has not been tested. We have generated mice (MTI/G-GLY) that overexpress progastrin truncated at glycine-72 to evaluate the trophic effects of G-Gly in an in vivo model. MTI/G-GLY mice have elevated serum and colonic mucosal levels of G-Gly compared with wild-type mice. MTI/G-GLY mice had a 43% increase in colonic mucosal thickness and a 41% increase in the percentage of goblet cells per crypt. MTI/G-GLY mice exhibited increased colonic proliferation compared with wild-type controls, with an expansion of the proliferative zone into the upper third of the colonic crypts. Continuous infusion of G-Gly into gastrin-deficient mice for two weeks also resulted in elevated G-Gly levels, a 10% increase in colonic mucosal thickness, and an 81% increase in colonic proliferation when compared with gastrin-deficient mice that received saline alone. To our knowledge, these studies demonstrate for the first time that G-Gly’s contribute to colonic mucosal proliferation in vivo.
Theodore J. Koh, Graham J. Dockray, Andrea Varro, Rachel J. Cahill, Charles A. Dangler, James G. Fox, Timothy C. Wang