Cultured colonic epithelial cells and fibroblasts were used to examine the interaction between these cell types during intestinal secretion. Secretory responses of T84 colonic epithelial cells, measured as changes in the short-circuit current in modified Ussing chambers to bradykinin, serotonin, hydrogen peroxide, and histamine, were enhanced in the presence of fibroblasts, either in cocultures or when separate cultures of fibroblasts were acutely juxtaposed with the T84 cultures. This effect was abolished by pretreatment with indomethacin and the fibroblasts were found to release prostaglandin E2 in response to these inflammatory mediators. Fibroblasts may exert a paracrine regulation on the secretory response of intestinal epithelial cells via the generation and release of cyclooxygenase products in response to inflammatory mediators. These studies suggest a novel function for the intestinal fibroblastic sheath: that of amplification of the inflammatory response through mesenchymal/epithelial interaction.
H M Berschneider, D W Powell
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