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Eberle, Julia Anna-Maria; Richter, Patric; Widmayer, Patricia; Chubanov, Vladimir; Gudermann, Thomas and Breer, Heinz (2013): Band-like arrangement of taste-like sensory cells at the gastric groove: evidence for paracrine communication. In: Frontiers in Physiology, Vol. 4, 58 [PDF, 2MB]

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The discovery of taste-related elements within the gastrointestinal tract has led to a growing interest in the mechanisms and physiological significance of chemosensory monitoring of chymus composition. Previous work suggests that brush cells located in the "gastric groove," which parallels the "limiting ridge," a structure in rodents that divides the fundus from the corpus, are candidate sensory cells. A novel sectioning technique revealed that these cells are arranged in a palisade-like manner forming a band which borders the whole length of the corpus epithelium. Using transgenic PLC beta 2 promoter-GFP mice and specific antibodies, we have demonstrated that most of these cells express gustducin, PLC beta 2, and TRPM5; typical signaling proteins of gustatory sensory "type II" cells. These molecular features strongly suggest that the cells may be capable of sensing nutrient or non-nutrient constituents of the ingested food. Since there is no evidence that brush cells are endocrine cells, attempts were made to explore how such putative chemosensory cells might transmit the information to "effector" cells. It was found that most of the cells express the neuronal nitric oxide synthase (NOS) suggesting some paracrine interaction with adjacent cells. Moreover, they also express choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) as well as the vesicular protein SNAP25, indicating the potential for cholinergic transmission, possibly with subjacent enteric nerve fibers.

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