Luminal chemosensing in the gastroduodenal mucosa

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Purpose of review

We report recently published knowledge regarding gut chemosensory mechanisms focusing on nutrient-sensing G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) expressed on gut enteroendocrine cells (EECs), tuft cells, and in afferent nerves in the gastroduodenal mucosa and submucosa.

Recent findings

Gene profiling of EECs and tuft cells have revealed expression of a variety of nutrient-sensing GPCRs. The density of EEC and tuft cells is altered by luminal environmental changes that may occur following bypass surgery or in the presence of mucosal inflammation. Some EECs and tuft cells are directly linked to sensory nerves in the subepithelial space. Vagal afferent neurons that innervate the intestinal villi express nutrient receptors, contributing to the regulation of duodenal anion secretion in response to luminal nutrients. Nutrients are also absorbed via specific epithelial transporters.


Gastric and duodenal epithelial cells are continually exposed to submolar concentrations of nutrients that activate GPCRs expressed on EECs, tuft cells, and submucosal afferent nerves and are also absorbed through specific transporters, regulating epithelial cell proliferation, gastrointestinal physiological function, and metabolism. The chemical coding and distribution of EECs and tuft cells are keys to the development of GPCR-targeted therapies.

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