Rapidly cycling Lgr5+ stem cells are exquisitely sensitive to extrinsic dietary factors that modulate colon cancer risk
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The majority of colon tumors are driven by aberrant Wnt signaling in intestinal stem cells, which mediates an efficient route toward initiating intestinal cancer. Natural lipophilic polyphenols and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) generally suppress Wnt- and NF-κB- (nuclear factor-κ light-chain enhancer of activated B-cell) related pathways. However, the effects of these extrinsic agents on colonic leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5-positive (Lgr5+) stem cells, the cells of origin of colon cancer, have not been documented to date. Therefore, we examined the effect of n-3 PUFA and polyphenol (curcumin) combination on Lgr5+ stem cells during tumor initiation and progression in the colon compared with an n-6 PUFA-enriched control diet. Lgr5-EGFP-IRES-creERT2 knock-in mice were fed diets containing n-6 PUFA (control), n-3 PUFA, n-6 PUFA+curcumin or n-3 PUFA+curcumin for 3 weeks, followed by 6 azoxymethane (AOM) injections, and terminated 17 weeks after the last injection. To further elucidate the effects of the dietary bioactives at the tumor initiation stage, Lgr5+ stem cells were also assessed at 12 and 24 h post AOM injection. Only n-3 PUFA+curcumin feeding reduced nuclear β-catenin in aberrant crypt foci (by threefold) compared with control at the progression time point. n-3 PUFA+curcumin synergistically increased targeted apoptosis in DNA-damaged Lgr5+ stem cells by 4.5-fold compared with control at 12 h and maximally reduced damaged Lgr5+ stem cells at 24 h, down to the level observed in saline-treated mice. Finally, RNAseq analysis indicated that p53 signaling in Lgr5+ stem cells from mice exposed to AOM was uniquely upregulated only following n-3 PUFA+curcumin cotreatment. These novel findings demonstrate that Lgr5+ stem cells are uniquely responsive to external dietary cues following the induction of DNA damage, providing a therapeutic strategy for eliminating damaged Lgr5+ stem cells to reduce colon cancer initiation.
author list (cited authors)
Kim, E., Davidson, L. A., Zoh, R. S., Hensel, M. E., Salinas, M. L., Patil, B. S., ... Chapkin, R. S.