Lgr5-expressing intestinal stem cells (ISCs) maintain continuous and rapid generation of the intestinal epithelium. Here, we present evidence that dedifferentiation of committed enteroendocrine cells (EECs) contributes to maintenance of the epithelium under both basal conditions and in response to injury. Lineage-tracing studies identified a subset of EECs that reside at +4 position for more than 2 wk, most of which were BrdU-label-retaining cells. Under basal conditions, cells derived from these EECs grow from the bottom of the crypt to generate intestinal epithelium according to neutral drift kinetics that is consistent with dedifferentiation of mature EECs to ISCs. The lineage tracing of EECs demonstrated reserve stem cell properties in response to radiation- induced injury with the generation of reparative EEC-derived epithelial patches. Finally, the enterochromaffin (EC) cell was the predominant EEC type participating in these stem cell dynamics. These results provide novel insights into the +4 reserve ISC hypothesis, stem cell dynamics of the intestinal epithelium, and in the development of EC-derived small intestinal tumors. NEW & NOTEWORTHY The current manuscript demonstrating that a subset of mature enteroendocrine cells (EECs), predominantly enterochromaffin cells, dedifferentiates to fully functional intestinal stem cells (ISCs) is novel, timely, and important. These cells dedifferentiate to ISCs not only in response to injury but also under basal homeostatic conditions. These novel findings provide a mechanism in which a specified cell can dedifferentiate and contribute to normal tissue plasticity as well as the development of EEC-derived intestinal tumors under pathologic conditions.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology|
|State||Published - Oct 2018|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)