Glucocorticoids have pleiotropic effects on small intestinal crypt cells

Andrea Quaroni, Jean Q. Tian, Michael Göke, Daniel K. Podolsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Glucocorticolds have long been known to accelerate maturation of the intestinal tract, but the molecular mechanisms that account for their physiological function in the epithelium remain poorly characterized. Using rat intestinal epithelial cell lines (IEC-6, IEC-17, and IEC-18) as models, we have characterized glucocorticoid receptors in Crypt cells and documented striking morphological, ultrastructural, and functional alterations induced by these hormones in intestinal cells. They include arrest of growth, formation of tight junctions, appearance of long, slender microvilli, reorganization of the endoplasmic reticulum and trans-Golgi network, and downregulation of the cell cycle regulatory proteins cyclin-dependent kinase 6 and p27(Kip1). These effects are consistent with the activation or modulation of multiple genes important in the physiological function of absorptive villous cells but are probably not directly involved in the induction of cell differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G1027-G1040
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number5 40-5
StatePublished - Nov 1999


  • Cell proliferation
  • Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors
  • Steroid receptors
  • p21(WAF1/Cip1)
  • p27(Kip1)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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