Gut 53:1408-1415 doi:10.1136/gut.2003.031963
  • Stomach

Trefoil factor 1 is required for the commitment programme of mouse oxyntic epithelial progenitors

  1. S M Karam1,
  2. C Tomasetto2,
  3. M-C Rio2
  1. 1Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE University, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
  2. 2Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (IGBMC), CNRS UMR 7104, INSERM U596,ULP, BP 163, 67404 Illkirch Cedex, CU de Strasbourg, France
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr S M Karam
    Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE University, Al-Ain, PO Box 17666, United Arab Emirates;
  • Received 4 February 2004
  • Accepted 17 March 2004


Background: Trefoil factor 1 (TFF1/pS2) is a major secretory product of the stomach and TFF1 knockout mice constantly develop adenomas and occasional carcinomas in the pyloric antrum.

Aim: To analyse the role of TFF1 in the differentiation of gastric epithelial cell lineages using oxyntic mucosae from normal and TFF1 knockout mice.

Methods: The various cell lineages were labelled using specific markers of pit, neck, parietal, and enteroendocrine cells. Patterns of TFF1, TFF2, and TFF3 expressions were defined using western blotting, immunohistochemistry, and/or immunogold electron microscopy.

Results: In normal mice, starting from postnatal day 1 (P1), TFF1 and TFF2 were produced by mucus secreting cells of the developing epithelium. At P7, TFF3 expression occurred in pit and parietal cells. When oxyntic glands were compartmentalised, at P21 and in older mice, TFF1 and TFF2 were expressed in pit and neck cells, respectively, and TFF3 was no longer in parietal cells but became a feature of zymogenic cells. In TFF1 deficient mice, alteration of oxyntic epithelial differentiation became obvious at P21, showing significant amplification of pit cells at the expense of parietal cells. At the molecular level, lack of TFF1 induced dramatic inhibition of TFF2 expression and more precocious TFF3 expression.

Conclusion: In the oxyntic mucosa, all three TFFs are produced in a lineage specific manner and TFF1 is essential in maintaining the normal commitment programme of epithelial progenitors.