Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 1242–1246

Activation of β-Catenin in the Stem Cell Region of Crypts During Growth of the Small Intestine in Infant Rats

  • Kimberley S. Camac
  • Fiona M. Thompson
  • Adrian G. Cummins
Original Paper


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.


Beta catenin Growth factor Intestinal growth Intestinal stem cell 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimberley S. Camac
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fiona M. Thompson
    • 1
    • 3
  • Adrian G. Cummins
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Gastroenterology and HepatologyThe Queen Elizabeth HospitalWoodville SouthAustralia
  2. 2.University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Gastroenterology and HepatologyThe Queen Elizabeth HospitalWoodville SouthAustralia

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