[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The peptide hormone gastrin binds two ferric ions with high affinity, and iron binding is essential for the biological activity of non-amidated gastrins in vitro and in vivo. Bi3+ ions also bind to glycine-extended gastrin17 (Ggly), but inhibit Ggly-induced cell proliferation and migration in gastrointestinal cell lines in vitro. The aims of the present study were firstly, to establish the mechanism by which Bi3+ ions inhibit the binding of Fe3+ ions to Ggly, and secondly, to test the effect of Bi3+ ions on the activity of non-amidated gastrins in vivo. The interaction between Bi3+ ions, Fe3+ ions and Ggly was investigated by ultraviolet spectroscopy. The effect of Bi3+ ions on colorectal mucosal proliferation was measured in three animal models. In vitro in the presence of Bi3+ ions the affinity of Fe3+ ions for Ggly was substantially reduced; the data was better fitted by a mixed, rather than a competitive, inhibition model. In rats treated with Ggly alone proliferation in the rectal mucosa was increased by 318%, but was reduced to control values (p < 0.001) in animals receiving oral bismuth plus Ggly. Proliferation in the colonic mucosa of mice overexpressing Ggly or progastrin was significantly greater than in wild-type mice, but was no greater than control (p < 0.01) in animals receiving oral bismuth. Thus a reduction in the binding of Fe3+ ions to Ggly and progastrin in the presence of Bi3+ ions is a likely explanation for the ability of oral bismuth to block the biological activity of non-amidated gastrins in vivo.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although there is abundant evidence that gastrin-releasing peptide acts as a mitogen in various carcinoma cell lines, the effect of administration of gastrin-releasing peptide on the colorectal mucosa in vivo has not been reported. The aims of this study were to determine whether continuous infusion of gastrin-releasing peptide stimulated proliferation or accelerated carcinogenesis in the rat gastrointestinal tract and other organs. The possible requirement for C-terminal amidation for mitogenic activity in vivo was also investigated. Proliferation was measured in the colon by metaphase index and by immunostaining for the proliferation marker Ki-67, and in other tissues by immunostaining alone. Acceleration of colorectal carcinogenesis was assessed by counting aberrant crypt foci after treatment with the carcinogen azoxymethane. Defunctioning of the rectum reduced both the proliferative index and the crypt height of the rectal mucosa of untreated rats. Treatment with amidated or glycine-extended gastrin-releasing peptide for 4 weeks using implanted mini-osmotic pumps resulted in a two- to three-fold increase in proliferation, and an increase in crypt height, in the defunctioned rectal mucosa (p<0.001), with smaller but significant increases in the caecum and distal colon. No changes in proliferation were detected in lung, pancreas or gastric mucosa. The numbers of aberrant crypt foci in the mid-colon, distal colon and rectum following treatment with azoxymethane were also significantly increased by infusion with amidated or glycine-extended gastrin-releasing peptide. We conclude that administration of gastrin-releasing peptide to mature rats stimulates proliferation and accelerates carcinogenesis in the colorectal mucosa, and that C-terminal amidation is not essential for either effect. Gastrin-releasing peptides could thus potentially act as promoters of colorectal carcinogenesis.