Leptin accelerates enterocyte turnover during methotrexate-induced intestinal mucositis in a rat

Igor Sukhotnik, Jorge G Mogilner, Dan Shteinberg, Rahel Karry, Michael Lurie, Benno M Ure, Ron Shaoul, Arnold G Coran
Cancer Biology & Therapy 2009, 8 (10): 899-906
Gastrointestinal mucositis occurs as a consequence of cytotoxic treatment. In the present study, we tested whether leptin can protect gut epithelial cells from methotrexate (MTX)-induced intestinal damage. Non-pretreated and pretreated with MTX Caco-2 cells were incubated with increasing concentrations of leptin for 24 h. Cell proliferation and apoptosis were assessed using FACS analysis. Adult rats were divided into three experimental groups: Control rats; MTX-rats were treated with a single dose of MTX, and MTX-LEP rats were also treated with leptin for 3 d. Intestinal mucosal damage (Park score), mucosal structural changes (bowel and mucosal weight, mucosal DNA and protein content, villus height and crypt depth), enterocyte proliferation, and enterocyte apoptosis were measured at sacrifice. RT-PCR was used to determine the level of bax and bcl-2 mRNA expression. In the vitro experiment, treatment with leptin of Caco-2 cells pre-treated with MTX resulted in a significant stimulation of cell proliferation and inhibition of cell apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. In the vivo experiment, MTX-LEP rats demonstrated a greater jejunal and ileal bowel and mucosal weight, mucosal DNA and protein, villus height and crypt depth, as well as a greater enterocyte proliferation index compared to MTX-animals. MTX-LEP rats also showed a trend toward an increase in enterocyte apoptosis that was accompanied by an increase in bax mRNA and decrease in bcl-2 mRNA expression. In conclusion, leptin enhances proliferation and decreases apoptosis in Caco-2 cells pretreated with MTX. In a rat model of MTX-induced mucositis, treatment with leptin improves intestinal recovery and enhances enterocyte turnover.

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