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Mucosal Immunol. 2013 Jan;6(1):146-55. doi: 10.1038/mi.2012.58. Epub 2012 Jul 4.

IL-13-mediated immunological control of enterochromaffin cell hyperplasia and serotonin production in the gut.

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  • 1Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute, Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Enterochromaffin (EC) cells in the gastrointestinal (GI) mucosa are the main source of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)) in the body. 5-HT is implicated in the pathophysiology of many GI disorders including functional and inflammatory bowel disorders. Herein we studied the role of interleukin 13 (IL-13) in EC cell biology by utilizing IL-13-deficient (IL-13-/-) mice and BON cells (a model for human EC cells). The numbers of EC cells and 5-HT amount were significantly lower in enteric parasite, Trichuris muris-infected IL-13-/- mice compared with the wild-type mice. This was accompanied with increased parasite burden in IL-13-/- mice. Treatment of naive and infected IL-13-/- mice with IL-13 increased EC cell numbers and 5-HT amount. BON cells expressed IL-13 receptor and in response to IL-13 produced more 5-HT. These results provide novel information on IL-13-mediated immunological control of 5-HT in the gut, which may ultimately lead to improved therapeutic opportunities in various GI disorders.

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