The tissue concentration of PGE(2)is heightened during mucosal inflammation. Nevertheless, the cellular targets of this prostanoid and its effects on epithelial cell physiology are incompletely understood. We used a panel of specific immunoglobulin and mRNA probes in order to localize and quantitate the four member EP family of prostanoid receptors for binding PGE(2)on cells of histologically normal and inflamed human colonic mucosa, and then examined the physiological consequences for the epithelial component of intestine, with special attention to its barrier function. Prostanoid receptors were selectively expressed on a limited number of human colonic mucosal cells, and differed markedly between normal and inflamed tissue. In non-inflamed mucosa, EP(2)and EP(3)were expressed on epithelia at the apex of crypts; while EP(4)was expressed on surface and lateral crypt epithelia. Dual immunostaining and in situ hybridization with digoxygenin-labelled RNA probes largely confirmed the epithelial localization of EP(4). On the other hand, during inflammation, lateral crypt (non-surface) epithelial cells newly and significantly expressed prostanoid receptors EP(2)and EP(3)(p<0.05, by computer-assisted densitometry). Functionally, exogenous E series prostanoids applied to epithelial monolayers in nM concentrations brought about a 24% increase in the level of barrier function; an associated rise in intracellular cAMP (EC(50)of 281); and protection of epithelium from the effects of T cell cytokines. A major perturbation in the number and distribution of functional eicosonoid receptors on epithelia occurs in chronic inflammation of human colonic mucosa.
Copyright 2000 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.