Homeostatic responses of colonic LGR5+ stem cells following acute in vivo exposure to a genotoxic carcinogen. Academic Article uri icon


  • Perturbations in DNA damage, DNA repair, apoptosis and cell proliferation in the base of the crypt where stem cells reside are associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) initiation and progression. Although the transformation of leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein-coupled receptor 5 (Lgr5)(+) cells is an extremely efficient route towards initiating small intestinal adenomas, the role of Lgr5(+) cells in CRC pathogenesis has not been well investigated. Therefore, we further characterized the properties of colonic Lgr5(+) cells compared to differentiated cells in Lgr5-EGFP-IRES-creER(T2) knock-in mice at the initiation stage of carcinogen azoxymethane (AOM)-induced tumorigenesis using a quantitative immunofluorescence microscopy approach. At 12 and 24h post-AOM treatment, colonic Lgr5(+) stem cells (GFP(high)) were preferentially damaged by carcinogen, exhibiting a 4.7-fold induction of apoptosis compared to differentiated (GFP(neg)) cells. Furthermore, with respect to DNA repair, O(6)-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) expression was preferentially induced (by 18.5-fold) in GFP(high) cells at 24h post-AOM treatment compared to GFP(neg) differentiated cells. This corresponded with a 4.3-fold increase in cell proliferation in GFP(high) cells. These data suggest that Lgr5(+) stem cells uniquely respond to alkylation-induced DNA damage by upregulating DNA damage repair, apoptosis and cell proliferation compared to differentiated cells in order to maintain genomic integrity. These findings highlight the mechanisms by which colonic Lgr5(+) stem cells respond to cancer-causing environmental factors.

published proceedings

  • Carcinogenesis

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, E., Davidson, L. A., Zoh, R. S., Hensel, M. E., Patil, B. S., Jayaprakasha, G. K., ... Chapkin, R. S.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Eunjoo||Davidson, Laurie A||Zoh, Roger S||Hensel, Martha E||Patil, Bhimanagouda S||Jayaprakasha, Guddadarangavvanahally K||Callaway, Evelyn S||Allred, Clinton D||Turner, Nancy D||Weeks, Brad R||Chapkin, Robert S

publication date

  • February 2016