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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2012 Apr 15;302(8):G840-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00505.2011. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

Glucagon-like peptide-2 increases dysplasia in rodent models of colon cancer.

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Department of 1Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The intestinal hormone, glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2), enhances intestinal growth and reduces inflammation in rodent models. Hence, a degradation-resistant GLP-2 analog is under investigation for treatment of Crohn's disease. However, GLP-2 increases colonic dysplasia in murine azoxymethane (AOM)-induced colon cancer. Considering the increased colon cancer risk associated with chronic colitis, we have therefore examined the effects of long-acting hGly(2)GLP-2, as well as of endogenous GLP-2 using the antagonist hGLP-2(3-33) in two novel models of inflammation-associated colon cancer: rats fed the carcinogen 2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) and a high-fat diet (HFD) for one or three cycles, and mice with chronic dextran sodium-sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis administered AOM. hGly(2)GLP-2 treatment of one-cycle PhIP/HFD rats increased the number of colonic aberrant crypt foci by 72 ± 11% (P < 0.01). Fifty-one weeks after three PhIP/HFD cycles, hGly(2)GLP-2-treated rats had a 22% incidence of colon cancer, compared with 0% in vehicle-treated rats. AOM-DSS mice treated with vehicle or hGly(2)GLP-2 had high-grade dysplasia/colon cancer incidences of 56 and 64%, respectively, compared with 46% in hGLP-2(3-33)-treated AOM-DSS animals (P < 0.05). Unexpectedly, hGLP-2(3-33) also reduced the colitis damage score by 32.0 ± 8.4% (P < 0.05). All high-grade dysplastic/cancerous tumors had nuclear localization of β-catenin although β-catenin mRNA transcript and protein levels did not differ between treatment groups. GLP-2 receptor mRNA expression also was not different. However, hGLP-2(3-33)-treated mice had markedly reduced numbers of doublecortin-and-calmodulin-kinase-like-1-positive stem cells, by 73.7 ± 8.6% (P < 0.05). In conclusion, the results of this study indicate a role for hGly(2)GLP-2 and endogenous GLP-2 as potential cancer promoters in rodents.

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