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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008 Jan;294(1):R33-8. Epub 2007 Nov 14.

Role of CCK1 and Y2 receptors in activation of hindbrain neurons induced by intragastric administration of bitter taste receptor ligands.

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Department of Anatomy, Physiology, and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


G-protein-coupled receptors signaling bitter taste (T2Rs) in the oral gustatory system and the alpha-subunit of the taste-specific G-protein gustducin are expressed in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. alpha-Subunit of the taste-specific G-protein gustducin colocalizes with markers of enteroendocrine cells in human and mouse GI mucosa, including peptide YY. Activation of T2Rs increases cholecystokinin (CCK) release from the enteroendocrine cell line, STC-1. The aim of this study was to determine whether T2R agonists in the GI tract activate neurons in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) and whether this activation is mediated by CCK and peptide YY acting at CCK(1) and Y(2) receptors. Immunocytochemistry for the protooncogene c-Fos protein, a marker for neuronal activation, was used to determine activation of neurons in the midregion of the NTS, the region where vagal afferents from the GI tract terminate. Intragastric administration of the T2R agonist denatonium benzoate (DB), or phenylthiocarbamide (PTC), or a combination of T2R agonists significantly increased the number of Fos-positive neurons in the mid-NTS; subdiaphragmatic vagotomy abolished the NTS response to the mixture of T2R agonists. Deletion of CCK(1) receptor gene or blockade of CCK(1) receptors with devazepide abolishes the activation of NTS neurons in response to DB, but had no effect on the response to PTC. Administration of the Y(2) receptor antagonist BIIE0246 blocks the activation of NTS neurons to DB, but not PTC. These findings suggest that activation of neurons in the NTS following administration of T2R agonists to the GI tract involves CCK(1) and Y(2) receptors located on vagal afferent terminals in the gut wall. T2Rs may regulate GI function via release of regulatory peptides and activation of the vagal reflex pathway.

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