Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide–producing K cells in dexamethasone-treated rats

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Some studies indicate that diabetes mellitus exerts an influence on the gastrointestinal tract and its diffuse neuroendocrine system (DNES) in regard to cellular density and neuroendocrine content. Since there is no data about relationship between experimentally induced non–insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) on the gut K cells, the aim of our study was to investigate immunohistochemical, stereological and ultrastructural changes of rat K cells after 12 days of dexamethasone treatment. Twenty male Wistar rats aged 30 days were given daily intraperitoneally 2 mg kg–1 dexamethasone (group DEX, 10 rats) or saline (group C, 10 rats) for 12 days. Tissue specimens were obtained from each antrum with corpus and different parts of the small (SI) and large intestine (LI) of all animals. Immunohistochemistry was carried out using antisera against the GIP and insulin. Transmission electron microscopy was also used. Although, according to the literature data, rat K cells are present in the duodenum and jejunum and, to a lesser extent, in the ileum, in the present study we observed that those cells were abundant also in all parts of the LI. We observed generally that GIP-producing K cells were augmented in all parts of SI and decreased in the LI of DEX rats. Insulin immunoreactivity (ir) coexpressed with GIP-ir in K cells and was stronger in the SI of DEX rats as compared with C rats. We also found by electron microscopy that small intestinal K cells have features not only of GIP-secreted but also of insulin-secreted cells. We concluded that dexamethasone treatment caused proliferation of K cells in the rat SI, and simultaneously transformation of GIP-producing K cells to insulin-synthesizing cells.

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