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Crypt fusion as a homeostatic mechanism in the human colon

Baker, A-M; Gabbutt, C; Williams, MJ; Cereser, B; Jawad, N; Rodriguez-Justo, M; Jansen, M; ... Wright, NA; + view all (2019) Crypt fusion as a homeostatic mechanism in the human colon. Gut 10.1136/gutjnl-2018-317540. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The crypt population in the human intestine is dynamic: crypts can divide to produce two new daughter crypts through a process termed crypt fission, but whether this is balanced by a second process to remove crypts, as recently shown in mouse models, is uncertain. We examined whether crypt fusion (the process of two neighbouring crypts fusing into a single daughter crypt) occurs in the human colon. DESIGN: We used somatic alterations in the gene cytochrome c oxidase (CCO) as lineage tracing markers to assess the clonality of bifurcating colon crypts (n=309 bifurcating crypts from 13 patients). Mathematical modelling was used to determine whether the existence of crypt fusion can explain the experimental data, and how the process of fusion influences the rate of crypt fission. RESULTS: In 55% (21/38) of bifurcating crypts in which clonality could be assessed, we observed perfect segregation of clonal lineages to the respective crypt arms. Mathematical modelling showed that this frequency of perfect segregation could not be explained by fission alone (p<10-20). With the rates of fission and fusion taken to be approximately equal, we then used the distribution of CCO-deficient patch size to estimate the rate of crypt fission, finding a value of around 0.011 divisions/crypt/year. CONCLUSIONS: We have provided the evidence that human colonic crypts undergo fusion, a potential homeostatic process to regulate total crypt number. The existence of crypt fusion in the human colon adds a new facet to our understanding of the highly dynamic and plastic phenotype of the colonic epithelium.

Type: Article
Title: Crypt fusion as a homeostatic mechanism in the human colon
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/gutjnl-2018-317540
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2018-317540
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Colon crypt, crypt fission, crypt fusion, evolutionary dynamics, lineage tracing, mathematical modelling
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Cell and Developmental Biology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute > Research Department of Pathology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10070575
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