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Endocrinology. 2009 Jan;150(1):232-8. doi: 10.1210/en.2008-0747. Epub 2008 Sep 25.

Identification and characterization of nesfatin-1 immunoreactivity in endocrine cell types of the rat gastric oxyntic mucosa.

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  • 1CURE/Digestive Diseases Research Center, Center for Neurobiology of Stress, Digestive Diseases Division, Department of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA.


Hypothalamic nesfatin-1, derived from the nucleobindin2 (NUCB2) precursor, inhibits nocturnal food intake and body weight gain in rats. Nesfatin-1 is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, suggesting a peripheral source of nesfatin-1. Many centrally acting food intake regulatory neuropeptides are also produced in the periphery, especially in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, we investigated the gene expression of NUCB2 and distribution of nesfatin-1-immunoreactive cells in the stomach. Microarray mRNA expression profiles in purified small endocrine cells of the gastric mucosa substantiated by quantitative RT-PCR showed significantly higher NUCB2 mRNA expression compared with brain and heart. Western blot confirmed the expression of NUCB2 protein and its transport into a secretory soluble fraction of gastric mucosal endocrine cell homogenates. Immunohistochemical colabeling for nesfatin-1 and ghrelin, histidine decarboxylase, or somatostatin revealed two subtypes of nesfatin-1-positive endocrine cells. Cells in the midportion of the glands coexpressed nesfatin-1 and ghrelin, whereas few cells in the glandular base coexpressed nesfatin-1 and somatostatin or histidine decarboxylase. High-resolution three-dimensional volume imaging revealed two separate populations of intracytoplasmic vesicles in these cells, one containing nesfatin-1 and the other ghrelin immunoreactivity. Microarray rat genome expression data of NUCB2 in small gastric endocrine cells confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR showed significant down-regulation of NUCB2 after 24 h fasting. In summary, NUCB2 mRNA expression as well as protein content is present in a specific subset of gastric endocrine cells, most of which coexpress ghrelin. NUCB2 gene expression is significantly regulated by nutritional status, suggesting a regulatory role of peripheral nesfatin-1 in energy homeostasis.

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