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J Mol Endocrinol. 2007 Feb;38(1-2):181-92.

Further delineation of the continuous human neoplastic enterochromaffin cell line, KRJ-I, and the inhibitory effects of lanreotide and rapamycin.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, TMP202, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Small intestinal carcinoids (SICs) are the most prevalent gastrointestinal carcinoid and characterized by local invasion metastasis and protean symptomatology. The proliferative and secretory regulation of the cell of origin, the enterochromaffin (EC) cell has not been characterized. The absence of either a pure preparation of normal EC cells or human EC carcinoid cell lines has hindered the development of therapeutic agents. We therefore further characterized the neoplastic SIC cell line, KRJ-I by assessing its secretory (serotonin (5-HT)) and proliferative responses and defining its log growth phase transcriptome. Electron microscopy demonstrated oval, lobulated nuclei and substance P, and 5-HT-positive cytoplasmic vesicles. RT-PCR detected transcripts for chromogranin A (CHGA), VMAT1 (SLC18A1), tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH1), substance P (TAC1), guanylin (GUCA2A), and SERT (SLC6A4). By immunohistochemistry, all cells were positive for CHGA, SERT, VMAT1, and TPH1. Transcriptome analysis (Affymetrix U133 Plus chips) identified somatostatin SSTR2/3, adrenergic alpha1C and beta1, dopamine D2, nicotinic-type cholinergic A5, A6, B1, muscarinic acetylcholine M4, and 5-HT-2A receptors. The presence of transcripts for SSTR1, SSTR2, and SSTR3 receptors was confirmed by RT-PCR and sequencing. Isoproterenol (ISO) resulted in a dose-dependent increase in intracellular cAMP (EC50=340 nM) and 5-HT (EC50=81 nM) which was completely inhibited by the cAMP antagonist 2',5'-dideoxyadenosine (10 microM). Preincubation with a SSTR agonist, lanreotide, inhibited Ip-stimulated 5-HT secretion (IC50=420 nM). Both lanreotide (10 nM) and rapamycin (50 nM) inhibited proliferation (20+/-12 and 35+/-5% respectively) in serum-free medium whereas gefitinib (1 nM-10 microM) inhibited proliferation at micromolar concentrations. KRJ-I is a neoplastic EC cell line that can be used as an in vitro model of SICs as it will allow elucidation and clarification of the secretory and proliferative mechanism(s) of neoplastic EC cells and the molecular signatures that characterize each of these responses.

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