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Am J Physiol. 1997 Jan;272(1 Pt 1):G197-206.

Cryptdin gene expression in developing mouse small intestine.

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Gastrointestinal Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA.


In rodents, the four intestinal epithelial cell lineages differentiate and become morphologically distinct during the first 2-3 postnatal wk. In studies reported here, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-based assays detected Paneth cell defensin mRNAs in intestinal RNA from 1-day-old (P1) mice before crypt formation and maturation of the epithelium. Analysis of these defensin-coding RT-PCR products from P1 mice showed that 69% of clones sequenced coded for cryptdin-6, suggesting that it is the most abundant enteric defensin mRNA in the newborn. Paneth cell mRNAs, including cryptdins-4 and -5, lysozyme, matrilysin, and defensin-related sequences, also were detected in RNA from P1 mouse intestine. Unlike adult mice, where only Paneth cells are immunopositive for cryptdin, cryptdin-containing cells were distributed throughout the newborn intestinal epithelium and not in association with rudimentary crypts. Cryptdin immunoreactivity in the P1 mouse intestine was specific for intracellular granule contents, and immunofluorescent detection of cryptdins on mucosal surfaces suggested that the peptides are released into the intestinal lumen in P1 mice Defensin secretion may contribute to innate immunity of the neonatal intestine before the presence of distinguishable Paneth cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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