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Gastroenterology. 2010 Jun;138(7):2447-56. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2010.03.006. Epub 2010 Mar 10.

ErbB activity links the glucagon-like peptide-2 receptor to refeeding-induced adaptation in the murine small bowel.

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Department of Medicine, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mt Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



The small bowel mucosa is sensitive to nutrients and undergoes rapid adaptation to nutrient deprivation and refeeding through changes in apoptosis and cell proliferation, respectively. Although glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) exerts trophic effects on the gut and levels increase with refeeding, mechanisms linking GLP-2 to mucosal adaptation to refeeding remain unclear.


Fasting and refeeding were studied in wild-type (WT) and Glp2r(-/-) mice and in WT mice treated with the pan ErbB inhibitor CI-1033. Experimental end points included intestinal weights, histomorphometry, gene and protein expression, and crypt cell proliferation.


Fasting was associated with significant reductions in small bowel mass, decreased crypt plus villus height, and reduced crypt cell proliferation. Refeeding increased plasma levels of GLP-2, reversed small bowel atrophy, increased villus height and cell number, and stimulated jejunal crypt cell proliferation. In contrast, refeeding failed to increase small bowel weight, crypt cell proliferation, or villus cell number in Glp2r(-/-) mice. Levels of mRNA transcripts for egf, kgf, and igfr were lower in fasted Glp2r(-/-) mice. Epidermal growth factor but not insulin-like growth factor-1 restored the intestinal adaptive response to refeeding in Glp2r(-/-) mice. Furthermore, CI-1033 prevented adaptive crypt cell proliferation, Akt activation, and induction of ErbB ligand gene expression after refeeding. Up-regulation of ErbB ligand expression and intestinal Akt phosphorylation were significantly diminished in refed Glp2r(-/-) mice.


These findings identify Glp2r and ErbB pathways as essential components of the signaling network regulating the adaptive mucosal response to refeeding in the mouse intestine.

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