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Verh K Acad Geneeskd Belg. 2001;63(6):511-29.

Motilin and motilin receptors: characterization and functional significance.

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  • Centrum voor Gastro-enterologisch Onderzoek Laboratorium voor Gastro-intestinale Hormonen KULeuven, Faculteit Geneeskunde Gasthuisberg, O&N Herestraat 49-B-3000 Leuven.

Abstract

In order to get more insight into the mechanism of action of the gastrointestinal peptide, motilin, and its role in human physiology, we aimed at characterizing motilin and motilin receptors. Motilin. Sequence analysis of the motilin precursor from several species indicated that the N- and C-terminal regions of the motilin precursor have evolved at different rates. Sequence analysis of the motilin precursor in brain tissue of rabbit and man and motilin radioimmunoassay on tissue extracts, proved that motilin is a brain-gut peptide. Plasma motilin levels are increased in patients with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. A weak correlation between the motilin genotype and the susceptibility to inflammatory bowel disease was demonstrated. Motilin receptors. Motilin receptors are expressed early postnatally and can be regulated by changes in its plasma level. The pharmacophore of motilin consists of the aromatic rings from Phe1 and Tyr7 and the aliphatic side chains from Val2 and Ile4. In vivo and in vitro studies showed that in the rabbit and human antrum, smooth muscle and neuronal motilin receptors exist which have different characteristics. In the rabbit duodenum motilin's action depends upon the influx of extra- and intracellular Ca2+. Nevertheless, in primary smooth muscle cultures, Ca2+ influx through L-type Ca2+ channels is the major transduction mechanism. The existence of central motilin receptors was demonstrated by autoradiography. Receptor binding studies allowed the identification of two binding sites. In contrast to antral smooth muscle cells, the response to motilin in the human TE671 medulloblastoma cell line, expressing the motilin receptor, relies on intracellular IP3-sensitive Ca2+ stores. The antibiotic erythromycin-A (EM-A) binds to the motilin receptor and induces contractions with the same regional and species specificity as motilin. This interaction was supported by the discovery of motilin antagonists. Structure activity studies led to the development of more powerful erythromycin derivatives, which lack antibiotic properties and which are now in clinical trial for treatment of hypomotility disorders. Conclusion and perspectives. The physiological role of motilin and its receptors in the brain requires further investigation. Erythromycin and its derivatives act as motilin agonists with clinically useful prokinetic potential. The motilin receptor has recently been cloned and has substantial structural homology with the growth hormone secretagogue receptor. This may not only lead to the further characterization of motilin receptor subtypes and aid the development of safe and selective motilin receptor agonists and antagonists, useful for the treatment of GI disorders, but may also give a new dimension to the role of motilin in human physiology.

PMID:
11813507
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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