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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2005 May;288(5):G1036-47. Epub 2004 Dec 2.

Expression of the ammonia transporter proteins Rh B glycoprotein and Rh C glycoprotein in the intestinal tract.

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Medical Service, North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, USA.


Ammonia metabolism is important in multiple aspects of gastrointestinal physiology, but the mechanisms of ammonia transport in the gastrointestinal tract remain incompletely defined. The present study examines expression of the ammonia transporter family members Rh B glycoprotein (RhBG) and Rh C glycoprotein (RhCG) in the mouse gastrointestinal tract. Real-time RT-PCR amplification and immunoblot analysis identified mRNA and protein for both RhBG and RhCG were expressed in stomach, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, and colon. Immunohistochemistry showed organ and cell-specific expression of both RhBG and RhCG. In the stomach, both RhBG and RhCG were expressed in the fundus and forestomach, but not in the antrum. In the forestomach, RhBG was expressed by all nucleated squamous epithelial cells, whereas RhCG was expressed only in the stratum germinativum. In the fundus, RhBG and RhCG immunoreactivity was present in zymogenic cells but not in parietal or mucous cells. Furthermore, zymogenic cell RhBG and RhCG expression was polarized, with apical RhCG and basolateral RhBG immunoreactivity. In the duodenum, jejunum, ileum, and colon, RhBG and RhCG immunoreactivity was present in villous, but not in mucous or crypt cells. Similar to the fundic zymogenic cell, RhBG and RhCG expression in villous epithelial cells was polarized when apical RhCG and basolateral RhBG immunoreactivity was present. Thus the ammonia transporting proteins RhBG and RhCG exhibit cell-specific, axially heterogeneous, and polarized expression in the intestinal tract suggesting they function cooperatively to mediate gastrointestinal tract ammonia transport.

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