Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The present work describes the pattern of human intestinal proliferation in an immunodeficient murine xenograft model, which we have shown to closely mimic cell division in normal paediatric gut. Cellular proliferation was measured using a double-label technique combining MIB-1 immunohistochemistry and [3H]thymidine autoradiography, to critically compare values for the tissue growth fraction (G1, G2, S- and M-phase cells) and DNA synthesizing (S-phase) cells in xenograft epithelium, lamina propria, muscularis externa and intraepithelial lymphocytes. The MIB-1 monoclonal antibody (which recognises the cell-cycle dependent nuclear antigen Ki-67) specifically labelled proliferating human cells within the xenografts and did not cross-react with dividing murine cells. This was confirmed using ultrastructural in situ hybridisation with human- and mouse-specific DNA probes to identify the genetic origin of proliferating cells. In general, we found a good tissue correlation between MIB-1 and [3H]thymidine labelling, the only exception being an apparent dysregulation of Ki-67 antigen expression in regenerating xenograft epithelium. In developed xenograft intestine, the highest levels of proliferation were consistently recorded within the crypt epithelium, where 15.7%-26.7% of cells were actively cycling and S-phase occupied approximately half of the cell cycle. The frequency distribution of proliferating epithelial cells within small and large intestinal xenograft crypts was clearly tissue-specific, showing typical patterns of cell division. Therefore, the presence of functional pluripotent epithelial stem cells and conventional spatio-temporal patterns in cellular proliferation, migration, de-cycling, lineage commitment and cytodifferentiation now makes this an attractive experimental model with which to study human intestinal crypt responses to various types of tissue manipulation, e.g. cytotoxic, radiotherapeutic, dietary, endocrine and gene-targeting therapy.


Journal article



Publication Date





321 - 330


Animals, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Cell Division, DNA, Epithelial Cells, Fetal Tissue Transplantation, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, In Situ Hybridization, Infant, Intestine, Large, Intestine, Small, Ki-67 Antigen, Mice, Mice, SCID, Thymidine, Transplantation, Heterologous, Tritium