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Gut-Like Structures from Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells as an In Vitro Model for Gut

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发表于 2009-3-4 23:59 |显示全部帖子
作者:Shigeko Torihashi, Masaki Kuwahara, Takunori Ogaeri, Pu Zhu, Masaaki Kurahashi, Toyoshi Fujimoto作者单位:Department of Anatomy and Molecular Cell Biology, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan
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          【摘要】
6 q, e6 R/ K$ Z4 b- p1 h7 W      Recently, we reported the formation of gut-like structures from mouse ESCs in vitro. To determine whether ESCs provide an in vitro model of gastrointestinal (GI) tracts and their organogenesis, we investigated the morphological features, formation process, cellular development, and regional location within the GI tract by immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. We also examined the developmental potential by transplantation into kidney capsules. The results demonstrated that Id2-expressing epithelium developed first, -smooth muscle actin appeared around the periphery, and finally, the gut-like structures were formed into a three-layer organ with well-differentiated epithelium. A connective tissue layer and musculature with interstitial cells of Cajal developed, similar to organogenesis of the embryonic gut. Enteric neurons appeared underdeveloped, and blood vessels were absent. Many structures expressed intestinal markers Cdx2 and 5-hydroxytryptamine but not the stomach marker H /K  ATPase. Transplants obtained blood vessels and extrinsic nerve growth from the host to prolong life, and even grafts of premature structures did not form teratoma. In conclusion, gut-like structures were provided with prototypical tissue components of the GI tract and are inherent in the intestine rather than the stomach. The formation process was basically same as in gut organogenesis. They maintain their developmental potential after transplantation. Therefore, gut-like structures provide a unique and useful in vitro system for development and stem cell studies of the GI tract, including transplantation experiments.
1 E1 G2 n- p9 |) ^& P" R/ C8 _& T          【关键词】 ESC Embryoid body Gastrointestinal tract Development Transplantation Interstitial cells of Cajal
" G, Q! g/ {. ?8 I* J: E6 k                  INTRODUCTION
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ESCs are pluripotent and possess the potential to develop into any embryonic or adult cell type .
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( \9 V8 ~! T% Q6 ~. L! @2 hPrevious data on gut-like structures suggest that they act as excellent in vitro models for the examination of gut organogenesis and provide a useful tool for the study of physiological and developmental aspects of the GI tract. However, little is known about the precise developmental properties of gut-like structures as organs form from ESCs. In the present study, we clarified the in vitro developmental process and unique morphological features of these gut-like structures. Positional specifications of the gut-like structures for regional identification along the anterior-posterior axis of the GI tract were also examined. Finally, transplantation of the gut-like structures to the renal capsule was carried out to ascertain their developmental potential.
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The results reveal unique characteristic features of gut-like structures along with those common to mouse embryonic guts. The transplantation provides evidence that the developmental potential of gut-like structures are committed from early stages of development and are stable even if they are transplanted to an in vivo environment. Thus, this new model provides a unique and useful system for basic investigations of GI tracts and also shows that ESCs have a potential as a source for cellular transplantation.+ X4 n9 R- \% {2 |

: r" {3 W  e6 f% i  vMATERIALS AND METHODS
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5 X1 E0 P4 ]" X% X+ a. W, E- DESC Culture( C. C6 Z8 F5 v% Q+ o7 S$ r

9 d# [) S" N1 r6 r. G: yThe culture system has been previously described elsewhere ), and the resulting EBs were plated onto dishes for outgrowth. The stage when EBs were transferred to tissue culture dishes was designated EB0. EBs and gut-like structures from EB2 to EB28 were examined using morphological and molecular techniques.
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6 R/ |' P. j8 N, K' UImmunohistochemistry/ t* H1 I! A  f- }. \! @

- N, u; w# d' p+ E  O; b7 dTissues were fixed with Zamboni solution, periodate-lysine-paraformaldehyde fixative, or Bouin's fixative. Samples were collected and embedded in Tissue-Tek OCT compound (Sakura Finetechnical, Tokyo, http://www.sakura-finetek.com), and they were processed for frozen sections (6-µm thickness). For whole mount staining, fixed samples were dyed in tissue culture dishes and were mounted with coverslips directly using PermaFluor Aqueous Mounting Medium (Thermo Electron Corporation, Waltham, MA, http://www.thermo.com). Primary antibodies and their detection systems are listed in supplemental online Data 1. For mouse primary monoclonal antibodies, the M.O.M. immunodetection kit (Vector Laboratories, Burlingame, CA, http://www.vectorlabs.com) was used. Mouse embryos (BALB/c) at embryonic days (E) 10.5, 13.5, 15.5, and 17.5 and newborn animals were also sampled. The use and treatment of animals followed the Guide to Animal Use and Care of the Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine. Confocal images were taken using a laser confocal microscope (Zeiss LEM 5 Pascal; Carl Zeiss, Jena, Germany, http://www.zeiss.com)." W4 h& U4 T1 y6 F4 M& E8 ]( }

& c( ^; P+ t4 |  v; c) ~; u; gElectron Microscopy. h( }& y8 }. m( U9 b
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Gut-like structures and mouse embryos were fixed with 2.5% glutaraldehyde, 1.25 mM/l CaCl2, and 3% sucrose in a 0.05 M cacodylate buffer (pH 7.4) for 3 hours and postfixed with 1% OsO4. Samples were processed for conventional electron microscopy as described previously ., T# w. j2 }9 l: A  T

( q  p( z7 D% Q+ R. J3 lTransplantation Under Kidney Capsule6 P, [8 J$ {! ]) w8 C; `7 H
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Gut-like structures from EB6 to EB21 were transplanted under the kidney capsule of 7-week-old female severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice (C.B.17/IcrCrj-scid). Three weeks after transplantation, the recipients were sacrificed. The kidneys were fixed with Zamboni solution, and grafted gut-like structures were identified by a florescent dissection microscope (VB-G25 system; Keyence, Osaka, Japan, http://www.keyence.co.jp). They were then embedded in paraffin wax and sectioned for hematoxylin and eosin staining. Some gut-like structures were embedded in OCT compound and processed for immunohistochemistry.. t* h( _/ Y/ s4 s
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Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction5 w) Q/ \+ _8 X
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For gene-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR), total RNA from gut-like structures was extracted with an RNeasy micro kit (Qiagen, Valencia CA, http://www1.qiagen.com), and total RNA from mouse or mouse embryo was extracted using TRIzol (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, CA, http://www.invitrogen.com). They were treated with RNase-free DNase I (Qiagen) and reverse-transcribed into cDNA. PCR was performed with Blend Taq DNA polymerase and its applied buffer (Toyobo, Tokyo, http://www.toyobo.co.jp). Primers and reaction conditions are listed in supplemental online data 2.
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Formation Process of Gut-Like Structures0 `: ~8 b" D( `7 y2 D/ F
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After 6 days of culturing in hanging drops, EBs at EB0 were ovoid and were composed of a small head and a large body. At this stage, some EBs had already developed beating cardiac muscles and attached to the dishes soon after plating. Most EBs began to beat within 2 days after outgrowth (EB2). Development of an EB and the formation of gut-like structures are shown in Figure 1. At EB4 or EB5, cell clusters appeared with prospective epithelial structures in central regions and were considered to be future gut-like structures. At EB10, premature gut-like structures became identifiable by their associated spontaneous weak contractions. They contracted strongly and regularly at EB14 or EB15, and the contractions continued for up to 2 weeks. After this time, period gut-like structures degenerated.
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Figure 1. Time-lapse recording of the outgrowth of an EB and development of gut-like structures. At EB2, 2 days after plating onto a culture dish, cardiac muscles usually differentiated and began to beat in the EB (star) (supplemental online Video 1, image Fig. 1 EB2). At EB10, a cell cluster (white arrow) started to contract weakly as a premature gut-like structure. It became larger and showed regular spontaneous contractions (white arrows). After EB22, it began to break down. At EB17, another gut-like structure (black arrow) developed and began to contract. Scale bar = 500 µm.
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The appearance of an epithelium, smooth muscle cells, and ICCs was demonstrated by immunohistochemistry and compared with gut organogenesis in vivo (Fig. 2). In the embryonic gut epithelium, Id2 was expressed from the period of definitive endoderm before E10.5. The epithelial cells were stratified columnar cells with a narrow lumen and surrounded by Id2-negative mesenchyma (Fig. 2A). At this stage, smooth muscle cells had not yet developed. At E15.5, inner circular smooth muscle layers showed -smooth muscle actin immunoreactivity, although the outer longitudinal muscle layer had not yet differentiated. The epithelium shown by Id2 immunoreactivity began to form villi in the small intestine (Fig. 2B). In newborn mice, the epithelium fully differentiated into a single layer of columnar cells and contributed to the long villi and crypts in the small intestine. They were surrounded by inner and outer smooth muscle layers expressing -smooth muscle actin immunoreactivity (Fig. 2C).
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Figure 2. Comparison of the development between fetus guts and gut-like structures demonstrated by immunohistochemistry. (A¨CC): Double staining with Id2 (red) and -smooth muscle actin (green) on a frozen section of embryonic small intestines at E10.5 (A), E15.5 (B), and newborn (C). At first, Id2 (red) appeared on the stratified columnar cells with a small lumen. At E15.5, smooth muscle expressing -smooth muscle actin (green) appeared around the periphery. In newborns, epithelial layer differentiated, and villi and crypts are clearly identified. Scale bar = 100 µm (A) and 20 µm (B, C). (D¨CF): Whole mount double staining with Id2 (red) and -smooth muscle actin (green) in gut-like structures at EB4 (D), EB10 (E), and EB14 (F). At first (EB4), Id2-immunopositive stratified epithelial cells appeared at the center of the cell cluster. Smooth muscle cells with -smooth muscle actin immunoreactivity (green) differentiated at EB10. Finally, a single layer of epithelium was completely surrounded by the musculature at EB14, similar to the mouse small intestine at birth. However, the villi and crypts never formed. Some muscle fibers (arrows) did not remain the wall of the gut-like structure and extended to the surrounding tissue attached to the culture dish. Scale bars = 100 µm (D, E) and 20 µm (F). (G¨CI): Whole mount immunostaining with c-Kit in gut-like structures at EB4 (G), EB10 (H), and EB14 (I). Mesenchymal cell cluster at EB4 shows c-kit immunoreactivity that became heterogeneous at EB10. Finally, at EB14, c-Kit positive cells were recognized to possess multipolar shapes similar to ICCs. This process is similar to differentiation of ICCs at the level of the myenteric plexus in the mouse intestine during embryogenesis. Scale bar = 100 µm (G, H). Abbreviation: E, embryonic day.
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& \# \; Y& M9 D8 [6 O8 NThe formation of the gut-like structures was similar to gut organogenesis. The formation of gut-like structures was examined using whole mount immunohistochemistry and optical slices by confocal microscopy. At EB4, cell aggregations expressing Id2 appeared at the center of undifferentiated cell clusters. They were stratified cells surrounding a narrow lumen (Fig. 2D). At EB10, a smooth muscle layer expressing -smooth muscle actin immunoreactivity began to differentiate at the periphery and surrounded Id2-positive epithelium with a distinct lumen (Fig. 2E). Finally, at EB14, the gut-like structures were composed of a single columnar epithelium surrounded by a muscle layer showing -smooth muscle actin immunoreactivity (Fig. 2F). The division of inner and outer muscle layers was ambiguous. Sometimes, muscle fibers did not remain in the wall of the gut-like structure and extended widely to the surrounding tissue growing on the culture dish (Fig. 2F). In these cases, we observed contractions of the gut-like structure accompanied by the movement of the surrounding tissue.1 {3 J: o5 R" H( [+ i; j. v3 U9 w

' {% W# _7 D6 [2 v- NDevelopment of ICCs was also similar to that of the mouse embryo in vivo. c-Kit-immunopositive cells aggregated in the mesenchymal cell cluster at EB4 (Fig. 2G). They differentiated into either c-Kit-positive or c-Kit-negative cells at EB10 (Fig. 2H). By whole mount preparation, developed gut-like structures at EB14 were surrounded by c-Kit-positive cells with cellular processes showing multipolar cell shape, as well as ICCs (Fig. 2I). The developmental course was parallel to the differentiation of ICCs in the embryonic gut, as reported previously . Although ICCs were located in the wall of the gut-like structure revealed by whole mount preparation (Fig. 2I), typical two-dimensional distribution pattern shown by ICCs at the level of the myenteric plexus in vivo was not clearly identified.
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Characteristic Features of Gut-Like Structures
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2 q$ r! _6 i0 y" V% ^  i" {8 Y  VGut-like structures showed a large variety of shapes. Many were balloon or dome-like structures with a large cavity, and some were flat with a narrow lumen. Sometimes, two or more domes were fused to form twins. Tubular structures were rarely observed (Fig. 3A¨C3D). Their sizes also varied, ranging from 200 to 1,500 µm in diameter. Mature gut-like structures contracted spontaneously, and the frequency of their contractions was temperature-dependent, similar to GI smooth muscles.
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Figure 3. Appearance, ultrastructure, and expression of mRNA of gut-like structures. (A¨CD): Dissection micrographs of gut-like structures showing spontaneous contractions. Many had a balloon or dome-like appearance with wide lumens (A). Some had a more flat shape with narrow lumens (B). Fused or twin types were also common (C). Tubular appearance was rare (D). Scale bars = 100 µm. (E): Electron micrograph of the cross section of the wall. Gut-like structures had a single layer of epithelium surrounded by a connective tissue layer and musculature. Scale bar = 10 µm. (F): Fine structure of columnar epithelial cells. They had short microvilli and sometimes electron-dense granules in the cytoplasm. Scale bar = 1 µm. (G): Goblet cells in the epithelium had mucus granules. Scale bar = 5 µm. (H): Entero endocrine cells located in the epithelium had many electron-dense small granules. Scale bar = 5 µm. (I): ICCs were distributed among SM cells. ICCs had electron-dense cytoplasm with many caveolae and mitochondria. Scale bar = 1 µm. (J): Enteric neurons formed a ganglion surrounded by glia. Cell division of the neuron (arrow) occurred in the ganglion. Scale bar = 10 µm. (K): Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis shows the expression of smooth muscle and ICC markers. Lanes 1 and 2 are gut-like structures at EB14 and gut from newborn mouse, respectively. The markers for smooth muscles, such as -SMA, -enteric actin, SM22, and calponin, were expressed in the gut-like structures as well as the gut from newborn animal. The expression of c-kit¡ªa marker of ICCs¡ªwas also detected, although it was weaker in the gut-like structures. Abbreviations: -SMA; -smooth muscle actin; Ep, epithelium; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; ICC, interstitial cells of Cajal; Mu, musculature; SM, smooth muscle.
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' m* n; u+ c' h2 B& V3 qThe walls of the gut-like structures were composed of three distinct tissue layers, corresponding to the epithelium, connective tissue layer, and musculature. The epithelium was constituted of columnar epithelial cells with rare microvilli at their luminal surfaces. Goblet cells and endocrine cells were distributed among the columnar epithelial cells (Fig. 3E¨C3H). ICCs were scattered among smooth muscle cells and confirmed by electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry for c-Kit (Figs. 2I, 3I). Neurons corresponding to the enteric nervous system were fewer than those observed in mouse GI tracts (Fig. 3J). Reverse transcription (RT)-PCR showed the expression of c-kit and -enteric actin, indicating the differentiation of ICCs and enteric smooth muscles. SM22, calponin, and -actin were also expressed in the gut-like structures (Fig. 3K).% l2 C/ t% E4 q/ n% s  N4 {

" c; Y. {2 G0 i; l, cRegional Identification of Gut-Like Structures
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( u. e6 @+ r% s: H/ s! ^0 t3 ]The patterning of the gut-like structures according to the anterior-posterior axis in the GI tract was analyzed by immunohistochemistry on serial sections from 20 gut-like structures using region-specific or characteristic markers. The results are summarized in Table 1. H /K  ATPase is a marker of the stomach. Gastrin, GATA4, and Sonic hedgehog (Shh) are dominant in the stomach and proximal small intestine. Intestinal-type fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP) and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) are mainly expressed in the small intestine. Cdx2 is expressed intensely in the colon and to a lesser degree in the small intestine. Most gut-like structures showed Cdx2 immunoreactivity on their epithelium. Some showed the expression of 5-HT, GATA4, and Shh; however, none expressed H /K  ATPase, I-FABP, or gastrin immunoreactivity on their epithelium. Examples are shown in Figure 4. A gut-like structure with a narrow lumen expressed Cdx2 and 5-HT immunoreactivities on the epithelium (Fig. 4A, 4B). Another gut-like structure with a wide lumen showed a heterogeneous pattern. Some areas expressed Cdx2 but contiguous neighboring areas did not, whereas Shh and GATA4 were immunopositive on the serial sections (Fig. 4C¨C4F). The summarized data (Table 1) suggested that the luminal size or shape did not determine the expression pattern of marker proteins., ?9 h$ V' `. W. e
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Table 1. Summary of expression pattern of regional markers" |$ I; \- T' U. ^- a6 _1 x

0 Q0 k3 E0 {7 L6 ?" vFigure 4. Regional identification of gut-like structures by immunohistochemistry and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The expressions of seven marker proteins were examined by immunohistochemistry on serial sections from 20 gut-like structures, and data are summarized in Table 1. (A): Example of a gut-like structure with a narrow lumen. One section is shown in (B). Scale bar = 20 µm (A, B). (B): Double staining indicates that the gut-like structure shown in (A) expressed Cdx2 (green) and 5-HT (red; indicated by white arrows) in the epithelium. (C): Example of gut-like structure with a large lumen. Its serial sections are shown in (D¨CF). Scale bar = 20 µm (C¨CF). (D): Upper right side of epithelium in gut-like structure expressed Cdx2 immunoreactivity, but other epithelial cells were immunonegative. Serial sections in dotted square area are shown (E, F). (E): Cdx2-immunonegative area indicated by dotted line (D) expressed Shh immunoreactivity on serial section. (F): The same area also expressed GATA4 immunoreactivity on the next serial section. (G): RT-PCR analysis of mRNA expression. Lanes 1 and 3 are gut-like structures at EB14. Lanes 2 and 4 are stomach and small intestine of newborn mice, respectively. Gut-like structures expressed neither H /K ATPase  nor H /K ATPase ß. Expression of Cdx2 was also confirmed by RT-PCR. Gastrin, however, was weakly expressed in the gut-like structures. Abbreviations: 5-HT, 5-hydroxytryptamine; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase.
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/ \7 B+ {" t& K% u" k! cImmunohistochemistry did not show H /K  ATPase, and this was confirmed by RT-PCR. On the other hand, gastrin-positive cells were never observed by immunohistochemistry, but RT-PCR analysis detected weak expression, suggesting that duodenums providing a small number of gastrin cells were present in the gut-like structures. Gastrin was highly expressed in the mouse stomach (Fig. 4G).
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Innervation and Vasculogenesis
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Ganglia in the gut-like structures were poorly developed. Figure 3J shows an electron micrograph of a ganglion with rare nerve fibers. Confocal micrographs stained with vascular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT) demonstrated fine varicose fibers and a small number of ganglia composed of a few neurons (Fig. 5A, inset). These observations indicated that the distribution of ganglia was incomplete. Varicose fibers ran in a disorderly fashion throughout the muscle layer and did not form nerve bundles corresponding to an enteric nerve plexus (Fig. 5B). On the contrary, outside the gut-like structures, there were many neurons, either packed or solitary, showing PGP9.5 immunoreactivity (Fig. 5C). These neurons expressed P75, nitric-oxide synthase, and tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity (Fig. 5D¨C5F). Therefore, neurons developed in EB in vitro, but their migration into the gut-like structures was incomplete., y8 d* q6 w4 \. i
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Figure 5. Undeveloped innervation and default vasculogenesis of the gut-like structures. (A): VAChT immunohistochemistry by confocal microscopy shows at most eight ganglia (arrowheads) in a gut-like structure within a reconstructed three-dimensional image (optical slice, 40 µm thick). Nerve fiber fascicles corresponding to enteric nerve plexus were absent. Scale bar = 50 µm. Higher magnification of a ganglion is shown in inset (upper right). Scale bar = 20 µm (inset). (B): In the musculature, fine varicose fibers expressing VAChT ran irregularly and did not form bundles. Scale bar = 20 µm. (C): Neural marker PGP9.5 shows the development of many neural elements forming ganglia outside gut-like structure (broken line). Therefore, EBs have the potential to develop neurons. Scale bar = 50 µm. (D¨CF): Immunostaining of neurons around gut-like structures. Expression of p75 (D), NOS (E), and TH (F) immunoreactivity are identified. Scale bar = 20 µm (D¨CF). (G, H): Flk-1 immunoreactivities indicating vasculogenesis. Embryonic gut at E17.5 (G) showed Flk-1 immunoreactivity, whereas gut-like structures (H) never did. Scale bars = 20 µm (G) and 50 µm (H). Abbreviations: NOS, nitric-oxide synthase; TH, tyrosine hydroxide; VAChT, vascular acetylcholine transporter.
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/ m8 S& c0 i" P' S9 ~4 qHematopoiesis and vasculogenesis did not occur in the gut-like structures. Although cardiac muscles were identified by their contractions in EBs, neither blood vessels nor blood cells were observed in the structures. Flk-1 immunoreactivity showing vasculogenesis  in the embryonic gut in E17.5 was also not detected in the gut-like structures (Fig. 5G, 5H).
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Transplantation
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7 A( s8 |5 v% r! J' QTo evaluate the developmental potential of the gut-like structures in vivo, they were transplanted under the kidney capsules of SCID mice. Three weeks after transplantation, explants were identified as EGFP-positive grafts under a fluorescent dissection microscope (Fig. 6A¨C6C). The gut-like structures showed a homogeneous appearance and became 3¨C5 times as large as their original size. Their growth was restricted to only the capsules where they were inserted. Blood vessels from the host animal invaded the gut-like structures (Fig. 6B, 6D). Nerve fiber fascicles from the host also entered the wall of gut-like structures (Fig. 6D). All transplanted gut-like structures (at EB6, EB15, and EB21; n = 3 each) had lumens but did not develop villi or crypts (Fig. 6E, 6F). Gut-like structures developed smooth muscle expressing smooth muscle actin and ICCs with AIC immunoreactivity , respectively, even though premature gut-like structure at EB6 had been transplanted (Fig. 6G, 6H). Cellular components appeared fully differentiated and displayed a mature appearance. They had neither developed smooth muscles or ICCs at EB6 before transplantation as described. Grafts of gut-like structures after completion of their organogenesis at EB15 and EB21 grew and increased their sizes in the kidney capsules. Histological analysis by hematoxylin and eosin staining did not reveal any sign of teratoma. The gut-like structures were maintained for longer periods in the kidney capsule (more than 42 days) without any appearance of degradation (indicated by disruption of the epithelial layer).
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Figure 6. Transplantation of gut-like structures into renal capsules of severe combined immunodeficient mice for 3 weeks. (A¨CC): Fluorescent dissection micrographs showing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-positive gut-like structures. Gut-like structure (A) explanted at EB15 showed smooth appearance and remained on surface of host kidney. Gut-like structure explanted at EB21 (B) received blood circulation from the host animal. Invading host blood vessels are clearly observed. Cross-section of the gut-like structure (B) has a lumen (C), and EGFP-expressing transplant never invaded host parenchyma kidney. Scale bars = 1 mm (A¨CC). (D¨CF): Hematoxylin eosin staining of the gut-like structures (B, C). Blood vessels (arrows) and a nerve fascicle (arrowhead) (D) supplied by the host entered the gut-like structure. The gut-like structure had a wide lumen (E), as shown in (C), and three distinct tissue layers (F). The epithelial cells differentiated and did not show any sign of the degeneration 3 weeks after the transplant. Scale bars = 20 µm (D¨CF). (G, H): Immunohistochemistry of the gut-like structure transplanted at EB6. After 3 weeks, the gut-like structure (G) had Id2 (red) immunopositive epithelial cells surrounded by smooth muscle cells expressing -smooth muscle actin (green). In the musculature (H), AIC-immunoreactive interstitial cells of Cajal (red) were identified among smooth muscle cells with -smooth muscle actin (green). These cell types differentiated after transplantation and had never occurred before explantation. Scale bars = 50 µm (G, H).# b! o" p# Z4 H" J

' ^7 ^0 @$ S, \! a& l! n& k9 gDISCUSSION) `$ w. r: M  U2 G

; J  ~' [# |+ v% PThe formation process of gut-like structures was investigated previously by electron microscopy and semithin sections stained with toluidine blue . The findings indicate that the gut-like structure is an in vitro physical model of the GI tract. Furthermore, the formation process of gut-like structures is a suitable model to study development of the GI tract in vivo, including basic endoderm-mesoderm interactions.
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1 Q9 F& y5 v, t. Y/ jWe recently analyzed the expression pattern of crucial transcription factors in endoderm and embryonic gut development in gut-like structures by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry . Heterogeneous expression patterns indicating anterior and posterior regions of the intestine in a single gut-like structure (Fig. 4D¨C4F) suggest the possible formation from duodenum to colon within one structure, if it were to grow into a longer tube.1 F: H3 }- E7 S/ A+ L

6 K$ I  e. e/ q% P- z4 i: G- LRecently, Kim et al. reported that the differentiation of stomach epithelium depended on the inhibition of Wnt signaling by homeobox gene Barx1, and intestinal differentiation represented a default state . This suggests that the gut-like structures in this system show a prototype of the GI tract and that further expression of homeobox genes may play a key role in the differentiation of stomach epithelium.  I$ I  P7 U- E' q" f( x3 c5 s
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I-FABP, strongly expressed in the villi of the small intestine in vivo .
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Neurons indicating autonomous or enteric elements were fully differentiated outside the gut-like structures in EBs; however, the nervous system was poorly developed within them, whereas transplanted gut-like structures did not prevent nerve fiber innervation from host tissues. These findings suggest that molecules inducing migration of neuro-precursors into the GI tract, such as glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, GFR1, ret, endothelin 3, endothelin receptor ß, netrins, and deleted colorectal cancer, were insufficient or completely absent . Thus, this in vitro system of both the gut-like structures and neuro-elements in EBs provided valuable information on the development, differentiation, and migration of the enteric nervous system within the developing gut. Moreover, the in vitro model provides a useful experimental system to investigate GI motility based on smooth muscles and ICCs function and excluding influences from the enteric nervous system.
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Although the lamina propria is usually rich in blood vessels, the connective tissue layer in gut-like structures possessed no vascular system consisting of either blood or lymphatic vessels. We have observed neither blood cells nor lymphocytes in the gut-like structures in vitro. This defect in vascularization may be the main reason that the structures degenerated after 1 month in culture. When they were transplanted to renal capsules of SCID mice, they survived longer by nutrition from the host animal through the growth of invading blood vessels. This lack of circulation also suggests an undifferentiated immune system within the clusters.
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Previous transplantation reports of mouse embryonic gut to the renal capsule showed that the renal capsule provided a suitable environment for the development of the embryonic gut . The graft formed a mixture of both endoderm and mesoderm derivatives such as muscles, bones, distal lung epithelia, and gut epithelia. However, they did not develop gut organs composed of three tissue layers. In our experiments, when the gut-like structures after EB6 were implanted, they continued to develop formed mature gut-like structures (Fig. 6G, 6H) that survived for a relatively long time. They neither invaded the kidney parenchyma nor formed multilineage teratomas. The results demonstrated that cell lineages were already decided at EB6, and ESCs sustained their lineages after grafting. Therefore, this system is technologically advanced and suitable to form gut organs in vitro, and it provides new sources for organotypic transplantation experiments.- d* z1 s5 K* T0 {5 m% x4 \1 c
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In conclusion, the gut-like structures are a basic model of gut organogenesis and provide an in vitro assay tool to study the molecular mechanism of cell differentiation and migration.
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0 I. X( {+ V0 }+ RDISCLOSURES
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The authors indicate no potential conflicts of interest.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS+ W( c( Z; v  {& P! K9 A
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We are grateful to Dr. H. Niwa (Riken, Kobe, Japan) for the gift of ESC line G4-2. We also thank to Drs. T. Yamada and M. Takaki (Nara Medical University) for technical advice on cell culture. This work was supported by Research grants-in-aid from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan and by the Hayashi Memorial Foundation for Female Natural Scientists.
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