Osmotic changes and ethanol modify TFF gene expression in gastrointestinal cell lines

FEBS Lett. 1998 Nov 13;439(1-2):180-4. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(98)01368-4.


The gastrointestinal tract is exposed to environmental insult as a result of food intake or in pathological conditions such as diarrhoea, and is therefore protected by the mucus layer. As part of it, trefoil peptides (TFFs) are able to modify the visco-elastic properties of the mucus, protect against experimental ulceration, and promote repair of the epithelia. We investigated, using transient reporter gene assays and RT-PCR in the gastric carcinoma cell line MKN45 and colon carcinoma cell lines LS174T and HT29, whether ethanol and osmotic changes can modify transcriptional activity of TFFs. In a mild hypotonic environment (200 mosmol/l) all three TFF genes were up-regulated by at least a factor of 2. In hypertonic medium (400 mosmol/ll), TFF1 and TFF3 were down-regulated, whereas TFF2 was up-regulated by elevated concentrations of sodium or chloride in MKN45. Raising the osmolality by ethanol resulted in an up-regulation of TFF3 in both colon cell lines but not in the gastric cell line. We conclude that alteration in TFF gene expression is a response of gut epithelia to deal with osmotic forces and ethanol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Digestive System / drug effects
  • Digestive System / metabolism*
  • Digestive System Physiological Phenomena
  • Down-Regulation
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Growth Substances / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mucins*
  • Muscle Proteins*
  • Neuropeptides*
  • Peptides / genetics*
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects
  • Trefoil Factor-1
  • Trefoil Factor-2
  • Trefoil Factor-3
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance


  • Growth Substances
  • Mucins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Peptides
  • Proteins
  • TFF1 protein, human
  • TFF2 protein, human
  • TFF3 protein, rat
  • Tff2 protein, rat
  • Trefoil Factor-1
  • Trefoil Factor-2
  • Trefoil Factor-3
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Ethanol