Epithelial apoptosis in mechanistically distinct methods of injury in the murine small intestine

D. Vyas, C. M. Robertson, P. E. Stromberg, J. R. Martin, W. M. Dunne, C. W. Houchen, T. A. Barrett, A. Ayala, M. Perl, T. G. Buchman, Craig M. Coopersmith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Gut epithelial apoptosis is involved in the pathophysiology of multiple diseases. This study characterized intestinal apoptosis in three mechanistically distinct injuries with different kinetics of cell death. FVB/N mice were subjected to gamma radiation, Pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumonia or injection of monoclonal anti-CD3 antibody and sacrificed 4, 12, or 24 hours post-injury (n=10/time point). Apoptosis was quantified in the jejunum by hematoxylin and eosin (H&E), active caspase-3, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP-mediated nick end labeling (TUNEL), in situ oligoligation reaction (ISOL,) cytokeratin 18, and annexin V staining. Reproducible results were obtained only for H&E, active caspase-3, TUNEL and ISOL, which were quantified and compared against each other for each injury at each time point. Kinetics of injury were different with early apoptosis highest following radiation, late apoptosis highest following anti CD3, and more consistent levels following pneumonia. ISOL was the most consistent stain and was always statistically indistinguishable from at least 2 stains. In contrast, active caspase-3 demonstrated lower levels of apoptosis, while the TUNEL assay had higher levels of apoptosis in the most severely injured intestine regardless of mechanism of injury. H&E was a statistical outlier more commonly than any other stain. This suggests that regardless of mechanism or kinetics of injury, ISOL correlates to other quantification methods of detecting gut epithelial apoptosis more than any other method studied and compares favorably to other commonly accepted techniques of quantifying apoptosis in a large intestinal cross sectional by balancing sensitivity and specificity across a range of times and levels of death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-630
Number of pages8
JournalHistology and Histopathology
Issue number4-6
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Anti CD3
  • Apoptosis
  • Intestine
  • Radiation
  • Sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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