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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42373. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042373. Epub 2012 Aug 2.

Duodenal enteroendocrine I-cells contain mRNA transcripts encoding key endocannabinoid and fatty acid receptors.

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  • 1Faculty of Life Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom.


Enteroendocrine cells have a critical role in regulation of appetite and energy balance. I-cells are a subtype of enteroendocrine cells localized in duodenum that release cholecystokinin in response to ingested fat and amino-acids. Despite their potentially pivotal role in nutrient sensing and feeding behaviour, native I-cells have previously been difficult to isolate and study. Here we describe a robust protocol for the isolation and characterization of native duodenal I-cells and additionally, using semi-quantitative RT-PCR we determined that mouse duodenal I-cells contain mRNA transcripts encoding key fatty acid and endocannabinoid receptors including the long chain fatty acid receptors GPR40/FFAR1, GPR120/O3FAR1; short chain fatty acid receptors GPR41/FFAR3 and GPR43/FFAR2; the oleoylethanolamide receptor GPR119 and the classic endocannabinoid receptor CB1. These data suggest that I-cells sense a wide range of gut lumen nutrients and also have the capacity to respond to signals of fatty-acid derivatives or endocannabinoid peptides.

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