Expression Profile of the GLP-1 Receptor in the Gastrointestinal Tract and Pancreas in Adult Female Mice

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Therapies based on glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonism are highly effective in treating type 2 diabetes and obesity, but the localization of GLP-1Rs mediating the antidiabetic and other possible actions of GLP-1 is still debated. The purpose with this study was to identify sites of GLP-1R mRNA and protein expression in the mouse gastrointestinal system by means of GLP-1R antibody immunohistochemistry, Glp1r mRNA fluorescence in situ hybridization, and 125I-exendin (9-39) autoradiography. As expected, GLP-1R staining was observed in almost all β-cells in the pancreatic islets, but more rarely in α- and δ-cells. In the stomach, GLP-1R staining was found exclusively in the gastric corpus mucous neck cells, known to protect the stomach mucosa. The Brunner glands were strongly stained for GLP-1R, and pretreatment with GLP-1 agonist exendin-4 caused internalization of the receptor and mucin secretion, while pretreatment with phosphate-buffered saline or antagonist exendin (9-39) did not. In the intestinal mucosa, GLP-1R staining was observed in intraepithelial lymphocytes, lamina propria lymphocytes, and enteroendocrine cells containing secretin, peptide YY, and somatostatin, but not cholecystokinin. GLP-1R staining was seen in nerve fibers within the choline acetyl transferase- and nitric oxide-positive myenteric plexuses from the gastric corpus to the distal large intestine being strongest in the mid- and hindgut area. Finally, intraperitoneal administration of radiolabeled exendin (9-39) strongly labeled myenteric fibers. In conclusion, this study expands our knowledge of GLP-1R localization and suggests that GLP-1 may serve an important role in modulating gastrointestinal health and mucosal protection.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Endocrine Society.

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