Stem cell therapy has recently achieved many successful cases in the personalized treatment of chronic and persistent mucosal inflammation; however, trans-differentiation of these stem cells into different cell types causes numerous problems. It was reported that intestinal epithelial stem cell-derived enteroids have a better potential in healing gastro-intestinal ulceration, but lack of fundamental mechanisms significantly blocks the development of intestinal stem cell treatment. Cytokine/JAK/STAT signaling is suggested to mediate intestinal stem cell homeostasis. In this project, we mainly focus on investigation of the role of JAK/STAT signaling in the adult stem cell responses to intestinal injury. Using a series of proof-of-concept studies with JAK-STAT mutant mice, mouse or human adult stem cells, we will, first, characterize the role of JAK-STAT signaling in adult stem cell differentiation; second, we will define the sufficiency of activation of JAK-STAT signaling for intestinal barrier differentiation.
We believe that our investigations will permit a collaborative team of basic scientists and clinical investigators to start a novel potential therapeutic avenue for restoring intestinal hemostasis. Our work will be beneficial to obtain molecular insights to fight diseases driven by intestinal infection or chronic inflammation with impact on cancer manifestation. This project is a collaborative study with the Intestinal Rehabilitation Research Program, Developmental Biology and Pediatric Surgery at Cincinnati Children's, and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Cancer Research (LBI-CR), Vienna, Austria.