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Eur J Biochem. 1994 Jan 15;219(1-2):539-46.

Induction of lactase biosynthesis in the human intestinal epithelial cell line Caco-2.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Basel, Switzerland.


The human colonic adenocarcinoma cell line Caco-2 forms monolayers of differentiated enterocyte-like cells when cultured on permeable supports. After confluency, Caco-2 cells express a number of brush-border enzymes including lactase-phlorizin hydrolase, sucrase-isomaltase and dipeptidylpeptidase IV. We have studied, with particular emphasis on lactase-phlorizin hydrolase, the modulation of biosynthesis of these enzymes by stimulating second messenger systems. Forskolin induced lactase-phlorizin hydrolase synthesis approximately fourfold within 7 h, suppressed sucrase-isomaltase synthesis, and had little effect on dipeptidylpeptidase IV. Dibutyryl-cAMP, 8-bromo-cAMP and vasoactive intestinal peptide also increased lactase-phlorizin hydrolase biosynthesis, indicating c-AMP dependent regulation. The induction of lactase-phlorizin hydrolase biosynthesis could be inhibited by actinomycin D and was preceded by a fourfold increase in lactase-phlorizin hydrolase mRNA levels, suggesting transcriptional control. Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate had an inhibitory effect on brush-border enzyme synthesis, in particular on sucrase-isomaltase, and blocked the forskolin-induced biosynthesis of lactase-phlorizin hydrolase. Lactase-phlorizin hydrolase synthesis was also inducible by hydrocortisone, but maximal induction required at least 3 days during which time sucrase-isomaltase synthesis diminished. The results indicate opposite regulation of lactase-phlorizin hydrolase and sucrase-isomaltase via cAMP and corticosteroids, and suggest that the Caco-2 cell line can serve as a model system to study aspects of the humoral regulation of human intestinal brush-border enzymes in cell culture.

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