Though recent studies have revealed that stem cells of many tissues are harbored in hypoxic microenvironment, little is known about the relationship between hypoxia and intestinal crypt base, where intestinal stem cells are supposed to exist. In this study, we focused on carbonic anhydrase IX (CA9), a hypoxia-inducible membrane-tethered protein, in normal intestinal crypt base, adenoma and early colorectal cancer. Using surgically resected human colorectal cancer specimen, we searched for the expression pattern and functional association of CA9 in human adult normal intestinal epithelia, adenoma and early colorectal cancer by immunofluorescent and immunohistochemical staining, flow cytometry, and quantitative real-time-polymerase chain reaction. We demonstrated that almost all crypt base slender cells in ileum and crypt base cells with eosinophilic structure in their basal cytoplasm in right and left colon were CA9+ with the ratio of 25 to 40%, and that adenoma and T1 colorectal cancer showed broad expression of CA9. Flow cytometrically sorted CA9+ population showed increased mRNA level of a Wnt signaling factor AXIN2. In conclusion, these observations indicate that CA9 expression in normal crypt base cells has association with intestinal epithelial stemness and CA9 may be involved in the carcinogenesis of colorectal cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research