Journal Article

Colonic epithelial cell activation and the paradoxical effects of butyrate

Peter R. Gibson, Ourania Rosella, Andrew J. Wilson, John M. Mariadason, Kurt Rickard, Keith Byron and David H. Barkla

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 20, issue 4, pages 539-544
Published in print April 1999 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online April 1999 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Colonic epithelial cell activation and the paradoxical effects of butyrate

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Butyrate may have paradoxical effects on epithelial cells of similar origin. This study aimed to examine the hypothesis that one mechanism that dictates a cell's response to butyrate is its state of activation. First, the responses to 24 h exposure to butyrate (1–2 mM) of normal and neoplastic human colonic epithelial cells activated by their isolation and primary culture, and of colon cancer cell lines, LIM1215 and Caco-2, were examined. In primary cultures of normal and cancer cells, butyrate had no effect on alkaline phosphatase activities but significantly suppressed urokinase receptor expression by a mean ± SEM of 30 ± 12% and 36 ± 9%, respectively. Interleukin-8 secretion was suppressed by 44 ± 7% in normal cells (P < 0.05) but was unchanged in cancer cells. In contrast, the cell lines significantly increased alkaline phosphatase activities by >50%, urokinase receptor expression >2-fold and interleukin-8 secretion >3-fold in response to butyrate. Secondly, the effect of butyrate on Caco-2 cells was examined with or without prior exposure to a specific activating stimulus [tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNFα)]. Interleukin-8 secretion increased by 145 ± 23% and 132 ± 17% on 24 h exposure to 2 mM butyrate or 0.1 μM TNFα alone, respectively. However, in cells pre-treated with TNFα, butyrate significantly inhibited secretion by 34 ± 7% below unstimulated levels. The response to butyrate of urokinase receptor, whose expression was not stimulated by TNFα, was unchanged. These effects were mimicked by trichostatin A, an inhibitor of histone deacetylase, suggesting that butyrate's paradoxical effects may have been operating by the same mechanism. In conclusion, some of the paradoxical effects of butyrate do not appear to represent inherent differences between normal and transformed cells. Rather, the response may be determined by the state of activation of the cells.

Keywords: DMEM, Dulbecco's minimal essential medium; HBSS, Hank's balanced salt solution; IL-8, interleukin-8; TNFα, tumour necrosis factor-α; TSA, trichostatin A; u-PA, urokinase; u-PAR, urokinase receptor.

Journal Article.  5168 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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