Obesity is a well-known risk factor for colorectal cancer but precisely how it influences risks of malignancy remains unclear. During colon cancer development in humans or animals, attenuation of the colonic cell surface receptor guanylyl cyclase C (GUCY2C) that occurs due to loss of its paracrine hormone ligand guanylin contributes universally to malignant progression. In this study, we explored a link between obesity and GUCY2C silencing in colorectal cancer. Using genetically engineered mice on different diets, we found that diet-induced obesity caused a loss of guanylin expression in the colon with subsequent GUCY2C silencing, epithelial dysfunction, and tumorigenesis. Mechanistic investigations revealed that obesity reversibly silenced guanylin expression through calorie-dependent induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress and the unfolded protein response in intestinal epithelial cells. In transgenic mice, enforcing specific expression of guanylin in intestinal epithelial cells restored GUCY2C signaling, eliminating intestinal tumors associated with a high calorie diet. Our findings show how caloric suppression of the guanylin-GUCY2C signaling axis links obesity to negation of a universal tumor suppressor pathway in colorectal cancer, suggesting an opportunity to prevent colorectal cancer in obese patients through hormone replacement with the FDA-approved oral GUCY2C ligand linaclotide.
Recommended CitationLin, Jieru E.; Colon-Gonzalez, Francheska; Blomain, Erik S.; Kim, Gilbert W.; Aing, Amanda; Stoecker, Brian; Rock, Justin; Snook, Adam E.; Zhan, Tingting; Hyslop, Terry M.; Tomczak, Michal; Blumberg, Richard S.; and Waldman, Scott A., "Obesity-Induced Colorectal Cancer Is Driven by Caloric Silencing of the Guanylin-GUCY2C Paracrine Signaling Axis." (2016). Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Faculty Papers. Paper 70.