Lrig1 marks a population of gastric epithelial cells capable of long-term tissue maintenance and growth in vitro

Sci Rep. 2018 Oct 15;8(1):15255. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-33578-6.


The processes involved in renewal of the epithelium that lines the mouse stomach remain unclear. Apart from the cells in the isthmus, several other populations located deeper in the gastric glands have been suggested to contribute to the maintenance of the gastric epithelium. Here, we reveal that Lrig1 is expressed in the basal layer of the forestomach and the lower part of glands in the corpus and pylorus. In the glandular epithelium of the stomach, Lrig1 marks a heterogeneous population comprising mainly non-proliferative cells. Yet, fate-mapping experiments using a knock-in mouse line expressing Cre specifically in Lrig1+ cells demonstrate that these cells are able to contribute to the long-term maintenance of the gastric epithelium. Moreover, when cultured in vitro, cells expressing high level of Lrig1 have much higher organoid forming potential than the corresponding cellular populations expressing lower levels of Lrig1. Taken together, these observations show that Lrig1 is expressed primarily by differentiated cells, but that these cells can be recruited to contribute to the maintenance of the gastric epithelium. This confirms previous observations that cells located in the lower segments of gastric glands can participate in tissue replenishment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers* / metabolism
  • Cell Dedifferentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation* / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Gastric Mucosa / cytology
  • Gastric Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*
  • Stomach / cytology


  • Biomarkers
  • Lrig1 protein, mouse
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins