The cells that line the intestine, known as the intestinal epithelium, can become injured in disease states such as ulcerative colitis. To repair the injury, epithelial cells must migrate to the wound; however, the signals that drive this migration are unknown.
In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers led by Asma Nusrat and Andrew Neish at Emory University identified signaling pathways that mediate the repair of the intestinal epithelium.
Using isolated epithelial cells and a mouse model of intestinal injury, Nusrat, Neish, and colleagues found that the protein ANXA1 promoted epithelial cell migration to mediate wound healing in the intestinal epithelium.
Additionally, they found greater levels of this protein in patients with ulcerative colitis. These findings suggest that ANXA1 could potentially be used as a therapeutic agent to promote healing of the intestines in patients with ulcerative colitis.
Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
Annexin A1, formyl peptide receptor, and NOX1 orchestrate epithelial repair
Journal of Clinical Investigation Dec. 17, 2012