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PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e38338. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038338. Epub 2012 May 31.

Krüppel-like factor 5 protects against murine colitis and activates JAK-STAT signaling in vivo.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is characterized by chronic or recurring inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, affects 1.4 million persons in the United States alone. KLF5, a Krüppel-like factor (KLF) family member, is expressed within the epithelia of the gastrointestinal tract and has been implicated in rapid cell proliferation, migration, and remodeling in a number of tissues. Given these functions, we hypothesized that constitutive Klf5 expression would protect against the development of colitis in vivo. To examine the role of KLF5 in vivo, we used the Villin promoter to target Klf5 to the entire horizontal axis of the small intestine and colon. Villin-Klf5 transgenic mice were born at normal Mendelian ratios and appeared grossly normal to at least 1 year of age. Surprisingly, there were no significant changes in cell proliferation or in the differentiation of any of the intestinal lineages within the duodenum, jejunum, ileum, and colon of Villin-Klf5 mice, compared to littermate controls. However, when Villin-Klf5 mice were treated with dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) to induce colitis, they developed less colonic injury and significantly reduced disease activity scores than littermate controls. The mechanism for this decreased injury may come via JAK-STAT signaling, the activation of which was increased in colonic mucosa of DSS treated Villin-Klf5 mice compared to controls. Thus, KLF5 and its downstream mediators may provide therapeutic targets and disease markers for IBD or other diseases characterized by injury and disruption of intestinal epithelia.

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