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Am J Physiol. 1999 Jan;276(1 Pt 1):G249-58.

FGF-2 enhances intestinal stem cell survival and its expression is induced after radiation injury.

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Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) have mitogenic activity toward a wide variety of cells of mesenchymal, neuronal, and epithelial origin and regulate events in normal embryonic development, angiogenesis, wound repair, and neoplasia. FGF-2 is expressed in many normal adult tissues and can regulate migration and replication of intestinal epithelial cells in culture. However, little is known about the effects of FGF-2 on intestinal epithelial stem cells during either normal epithelial renewal or regeneration of a functional epithelium after injury. In this study, we investigated the expression of FGF-2 in the mouse small intestine after irradiation and determined the effect of exogenous FGF-2 on crypt stem cell survival after radiation injury. Expression of FGF-2 mRNA and protein began to increase at 12 h after gamma-irradiation, and peak levels were observed from 48 to 120 h after irradiation. At all times after irradiation, the higher molecular mass isoform ( approximately 24 kDa) of FGF-2 was the predominant form expressed in the small intestine. Immunohistochemical analysis of FGF-2 expression after radiation injury demonstrated that FGF-2 was predominantly found in the mesenchyme surrounding regenerating crypts. Exogenous recombinant human FGF-2 (rhFGF-2) markedly enhanced crypt stem cell survival when given before irradiation. We conclude that expression of FGF-2 is induced by radiation injury and that rhFGF-2 can enhance crypt stem cell survival after subsequent injury.

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