A Planar Culture Model of Human Absorptive Enterocytes Reveals Metformin Increases Fatty Acid Oxidation and Export.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Fatty acid oxidation by absorptive enterocytes has been linked to the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and dyslipidemia. Caco-2 and organoids have been used to study dietary lipid-handling processes including fatty acid oxidation, but are limited in physiological relevance or preclude simultaneous apical and basal access. Here, we developed a high-throughput planar human absorptive enterocyte monolayer system for investigating lipid handling, and then evaluated the role of fatty acid oxidation in fatty acid export, using etomoxir, C75, and the antidiabetic drug metformin. METHODS: Single-cell RNA-sequencing, transcriptomics, and lineage trajectory was performed on primary human jejunum. In vivo absorptive enterocyte maturational states informed conditions used to differentiate human intestinal stem cells (ISCs) that mimic in vivo absorptive enterocyte maturation. The system was scaled for high-throughput drug screening. Fatty acid oxidation was modulated pharmacologically and BODIPY (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, MA) (B)-labeled fatty acids were used to evaluate fatty acid handling via fluorescence and thin-layer chromatography. RESULTS: Single-cell RNA-sequencing shows increasing expression of lipid-handling genes as absorptive enterocytes mature. Culture conditions promote ISC differentiation into confluent absorptive enterocyte monolayers. Fatty acid-handling gene expression mimics in vivo maturational states. The fatty acid oxidation inhibitor etomoxir decreased apical-to-basolateral export of medium-chain B-C12 and long-chain B-C16 fatty acids, whereas the CPT1 agonist C75 and the antidiabetic drug metformin increased apical-to-basolateral export. Short-chain B-C5 was unaffected by fatty acid oxidation inhibition and diffused through absorptive enterocytes. CONCLUSIONS: Primary human ISCs in culture undergo programmed maturation. Absorptive enterocyte monolayers show in vivo maturational states and lipid-handling gene expression profiles. Absorptive enterocytes create strong epithelial barriers in 96-Transwell format. Fatty acid export is proportional to fatty acid oxidation. Metformin enhances fatty acid oxidation and increases basolateral fatty acid export, supporting an intestine-specific role.
Gomez-Martinez, I; Bliton, RJ; Breau, KA; Czerwinski, MJ; Williamson, IA; Wen, J; Rawls, JF; Magness, ST
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