Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Gastroenterology. 1994 Nov;107(5):1259-69.

Microflora modulates endocrine cells in the gastrointestinal mucosa of the rat.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Danderyd Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.



Gastrointestinal peptides and biogenic monoamines participate in the regulation of gastrointestinal functions. The aim of this study was to examine the influence of the microflora on the distribution of endocrine cells and on the release of gastrointestinal peptides.


A quantitative morphological study using stereological methods was performed in gastrointestinal sections of conventional and germ-free rats. Tissue and plasma concentrations of peptides were measured.


The total volumes of gastrin- and serotonin-immunoreactive cells were significantly increased in the gastric mucosa of germfree rats (P < 0.05), as well as the total volumes of serotonin- and motilin-immunoreactive cells in the ileum (P < 0.05) and serotonin-immunoreactive cells in the colonic mucosa (P < 0.05). The tissue concentration of somatostatin was significantly higher in the jejunum (P < 0.05) and lower in the ileum of germfree rats than in controls (P < 0.05). Plasma glucagon was significantly increased in germfree rats (P < 0.05). The total volume of the fundic mucosa was enlarged in germfree rats (P < 0.05), whereas the total volume, the mucosal thickness, and the number of crypt cells of the colonic mucosa were significantly reduced in these rats compared with controls (P < 0.05).


Our findings suggest that the intraluminal microflora influences the release of biologically active peptides and that it participates in the regulation of gastrointestinal endocrine cells and the epithelial structure.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk