The endogenous preproglucagon system is not essential for gut growth homeostasis in mice

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Pernille Wismann
  • Pernille Barkholt
  • Thomas Secher
  • Niels Vrang
  • Henrik B Hansen
  • Jeppesen, Palle Bekker
  • Laurie L Baggio
  • Jacqueline A Koehler
  • Daniel J Drucker
  • Darleen A Sandoval
  • Jacob Jelsing

OBJECTIVE: The prevalence of obesity and related co-morbidities is reaching pandemic proportions. Today, the most effective obesity treatments are glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) analogs and bariatric surgery. Interestingly, both intervention paradigms have been associated with adaptive growth responses in the gut; however, intestinotrophic mechanisms associated with or secondary to medical or surgical obesity therapies are poorly understood. Therefore, the objective of this study was to assess the local basal endogenous and pharmacological intestinotrophic effects of glucagon-like peptides and bariatric surgery in mice.

METHODS: We used in situ hybridization to provide a detailed and comparative anatomical map of the local distribution of GLP-1 receptor (Glp1r), GLP-2 receptor (Glp2r), and preproglucagon (Gcg) mRNA expression throughout the mouse gastrointestinal tract. Gut development in GLP-1R-, GLP-2R-, or GCG-deficient mice was compared to their corresponding wild-type controls, and intestinotrophic effects of GLP-1 and GLP-2 analogs were assessed in wild-type mice. Lastly, gut volume was determined in a mouse model of vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG).

RESULTS: Comparison of Glp1r, Glp2r, and Gcg mRNA expression indicated a widespread, but distinct, distribution of these three transcripts throughout all compartments of the mouse gastrointestinal tract. While mice null for Glp1r or Gcg showed normal intestinal morphology, Glp2r-/- mice exhibited a slight reduction in small intestinal mucosa volume. Pharmacological treatment with GLP-1 and GLP-2 analogs significantly increased gut volume. In contrast, VSG surgery had no effect on intestinal morphology.

CONCLUSION: The present study indicates that the endogenous preproglucagon system, exemplified by the entire GCG gene and the receptors for GLP-1 and GLP-2, does not play a major role in normal gut development in the mouse. Furthermore, elevation in local intestinal and circulating levels of GLP-1 and GLP-2 achieved after VSG has limited impact on intestinal morphometry. Hence, although exogenous treatment with GLP-1 and GLP-2 analogs enhances gut growth, the contributions of endogenously-secreted GLP-1 and GLP-2 to gut growth may be more modest and highly context-dependent.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Metabolism
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)681-692
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

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