Regional differences in L-selectin expression in murine intestinal lymphocytes

Gastroenterology. 1998 May;114(5):965-74. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5085(98)70316-6.


Background & aims: The expression of the lymphocyte homing receptor and activation marker L-selectin is different in colon and small intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs). In this study, the mechanism of this difference in L-selectin expression was investigated.

Methods: L-selectin expression on lymphocytes was measured by flow cytometry. L-selectin messenger RNA (mRNA) was detected by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. L-Selectin expression on peripheral lymphocytes was analyzed after incubation with cytokines, food and bacterial antigens, and homogenates of small and large bowel.

Results: L-selectin was expressed by none of the small intestinal IELs but by 30% of those in the colon and by 60% of splenocytes. mRNA for L-selectin was detectable in isolated lymphocytes of all three sites. L-Selectin was down-regulated in colon IELs during colitis and up-regulated in small intestinal IELs after in vitro culture for 48 hours. Incubation of splenocytes with small intestinal homogenates led to a rapid down-regulation of L-selectin (1% vs. 60% untreated). Preincubation with a metalloproteinase inhibitor prevented L-selectin loss.

Conclusions: The mechanism of the differential expression of L-selectin in mouse small intestine and colon appears to be an increased functional activity of a metalloproteinase (sheddase) in the small intestine compared with the colon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alanine / analogs & derivatives
  • Alanine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Hydroxamic Acids / pharmacology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestines / cytology
  • L-Selectin / metabolism*
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Metalloendopeptidases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / metabolism
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Hydroxamic Acids
  • KD-IX 73-5
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta
  • L-Selectin
  • Metalloendopeptidases
  • Alanine