Small intestinal neuroendocrine tumors (SI-NETs) are serotonin-secreting well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumors of putative enterochromaffin (EC) cell origin. However, EC cell-derived tumorigenesis remains poorly understood. Here, we examined whether the gain of Myc and the loss of RB1 and Trp53 function in EC cells result in SI-NET using tryptophan hydroxylase 1 (TPH1) Cre-ERT2-driven RB1fl Trp53fl MycLSL (RPM) mice. TPH1-Cre-induced gain of Myc and loss of RB1 and Trp53 function resulted in endocrine or neuronal tumors in pancreas, lung, enteric neurons, and brain. Lineage tracing indicated that the cellular origin for these tumors was TPH1-expressing neuroendocrine, neuronal, or their precursor cells in these organs. However, despite that TPH1 is most highly expressed in EC cells of the small intestine, we observed no incidence of EC cell tumors. Instead, the tumor of epithelial cell origin in the intestine was exclusively nonendocrine adenocarcinoma, suggesting dedifferentiation of EC cells into intestinal stem cells (ISCs) as a cellular mechanism. Furthermore, ex vivo organoid studies indicated that loss of functions of Rb1 and Trp53 accelerated dedifferentiation of EC cells that were susceptible to apoptosis with expression of activated MycT58A, suggesting that the rare dedifferentiating cells escaping cell death went on to develop adenocarcinomas. Lineage tracing demonstrated that EC cells in the small intestine were short-lived compared with neuroendocrine or neuronal cells in other organs. In contrast, EC cell-derived ISCs were long-lasting and actively cycling and thus susceptible to transformation. These results suggest that tissue- and cell-specific properties of EC cells such as rapid cell turnover and homeostatic dedifferentiation, affect the fate and rate of tumorigenesis induced by genetic alterations and provide important insights into EC cell-derived tumorigenesis.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Small intestinal neuroendocrine tumors are of putative enterochromaffin (EC) cell origin and are the most common malignancy in the small intestine, followed by adenocarcinoma. However, the tumorigenesis of these tumor types remains poorly understood. The present lineage tracing studies showed that tissue- and cell-specific properties of EC cells such as rapid cell turnover and homeostatic dedifferentiation affect the fate and rate of tumorigenesis induced by genetic alterations toward a rare occurrence of adenocarcinoma.
|American journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology
|Published - Mar 1 2023
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)