FGF-2 enhances intestinal stem cell survival and its expression is induced after radiation injury

Courtney W. Houchen, Robert J. George, Mark A. Sturmoski, Steven M. Cohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) have mitogenic activity toward a wide variety of cells of mesenchymal, neuronal, and epithelial origin and regulate events in normal embryonic development, angiogenesis, wound repair, and neoplasia. FGF-2 is expressed in many normal adult tissues and can regulate migration and replication of intestinal epithelial cells in culture. However, little is known about the effects of FGF-2 on intestinal epithelial stem cells during either normal epithelial renewal or regeneration of a functional epithelium after injury. In this study, we investigated the expression of FGF-2 in the mouse small intestine after irradiation and determined the effect of exogenous FGF-2 on crypt stem cell survival after radiation injury. Expression of FGF-2 mRNA and protein began to increase at 12 h after γ- irradiation, and peak levels were observed from 48 to 120 h after irradiation. At all times after irradiation, the higher molecular mass isoform (~24 kDa) of FGF-2 was the predominant form expressed in the small intestine. Immunohistochemical analysis of FGF-2 expression after radiation injury demonstrated that FGF-2 was predominantly found in the mesenchyme surrounding regenerating crypts. Exogenous recombinant human FGF-2 (rhFGF-2) markedly enhanced crypt stem cell survival when given before irradiation. We conclude that expression of FGF-2 is induced by radiation injury and that rhFGF-2 can enhance crypt stem cell survival after subsequent injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G249-G258
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number1 39-1
StatePublished - Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Basic fibroblast growth factors
  • Injury repair
  • Ionizing radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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