Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor-3 Is Expressed in Undifferentiated Intestinal Epithelial Cells during Murine Crypt Morphogenesis

Alda Vidrich, Jenny M. Buzan, Chibuzo Ilo, Leigh Bradley, Kirstin Skaar, Steven M. Cohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Prior studies have demonstrated that fibroblast growth factor receptor-3 (FGFR-3) regulates proliferation of undifferentiated intestinal epithelial cells in vitro. However, the function(s) of FGFR-3-mediated signaling during intestinal development and epithelial differentiation in vivo remain unknown. The goal of this study was to define the temporal, regional, and cell-specific patterns of FGFR-3 expression and its ligands during normal intestinal ontogeny and epithelial regeneration. Both the IIIb and IIIc isoforms of FGFR-3 mRNA, which result from differential splicing of the FGFR-3 primary transcript, were detected in mouse small intestine as early as embryonic day 16. FGFR-3 levels peaked in the small intestine from 7 to 21 days after birth and decreased thereafter to reach the low levels observed in adult mice. FGFR-3 IIIb and IIIc mRNA levels were highest in the duodenum and proximal jejunum with lower levels of both seen in the distal jejunum, ileum, and colon. FGFR-3 was expressed in a subset of proliferating undifferentiated crypt epithelial cells located in the intervillous epithelium and in the lower half of nascently forming crypts but not in differentiated epithelial cell types. FGFR-3 IIIb was the dominant isoform expressed in both small intestinal and colonic crypts. Expression of FGF1, FGF2, and FGF9, known ligands of FGFR-3, paralleled patterns of FGFR-3 expression during gut development. These data suggest that signaling through FGFR-3 plays a role in regulating morphogenic events involved in formation of intestinal crypts and/or the fate of epithelial stem cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-123
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Fibroblast growth factor receptor-3
  • Fibroblast growth factors
  • Intestinal development
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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