Activation of β-Catenin in the Stem Cell Region of Crypts During Growth of the Small Intestine in Infant Rats
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- Camac, K.S., Thompson, F.M. & Cummins, A.G. Dig Dis Sci (2007) 52: 1242. doi:10.1007/s10620-006-9200-7
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The Wnt/β-catenin pathway has been proposed as promoting intestinal stem cell division. Wnt ligands activate cytoplasmic β-catenin and increase nuclear translocation of β-catenin that binds to the Tcf-4 transcription factor. The aim of this study was to investigate β-catenin expression in the stem cell region of crypts during intestinal growth in rats. Litters of DAxPVG/c rats were humanely killed at 7, 14, 21, 35, and 72 days of life. β-Catenin and Tcf-4 were quantified by immunoperoxidase staining and image analysis with cumulative signal analysis. Cytoplasmic and nuclear expression of β-catenin peaked nearly 2-fold at day 14 (versus day 7) of life in the stem cell region of intestinal crypts. Tcf-4 nuclear expression peaked earlier at 7 days and was lower thereafter with age. We conclude that the Wnt/β-catenin pathway is activated in the stem cell region of intestinal crypts during growth of the small intestine.