Differential effects of 2- and 3-series E-prostaglandins on in vitro expansion of Lgr5+ colonic stem cells.
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Arachidonic acid (20:4(5,8,11,14), AA)-derived prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) promotes colon cancer development. In contrast, chemoprotective n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids supplant AA, thereby decreasing PGE2 biosynthesis in colonocytes, with eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5(5,8,11,14,17), EPA) in particular being metabolized to a novel 3-series E-prostaglandin (PGE3), a putative anti-tumorigenic-cyclooxygenase metabolite. Because transformation of adult stem cells is an extremely important route toward initiating intestinal cancer, we utilized the leucine-rich-repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5 (Lgr5)-enhanced green fluorescent protein-internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-creER(T2) knock-in mouse model to isolate and culture colonic organoids, in order to document ex vivo responses to exogenous PGE2 and PGE3. Colonic crypts were isolated from transgenic mice and cultured in a Matrigel-based three-dimensional platform. Organoids were treated with exogenous PGE2, PGE3 or dimethyl sulfoxide (vehicle control) for 5 days and the number of viable organoids was recorded daily. Subsequently, samples were processed for immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry and real-time PCR analyses. PGE2 promoted optimal organoid growth and induced significantly higher levels of cell proliferation (P < 0.05) compared with PGE3 and control. In contrast, the Lgr5-green fluorescent protein-positive stem cell number was uniquely elevated by >2-fold in PGE2-treated cultures compared with PGE3 and control. This coincided with the upregulation of stem-cell-related Sox9, Axin2 and Cd44 messenger RNAs. Our results demonstrate that relative to AA-derived PGE2, a known promoter of colon tumorigenesis, EPA-derived PGE3 has diminished ability to support colonic stem cell expansion in mouse colonic organoids.