Phenotype of entero-endocrine L cells becomes restricted during development



Background: Glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) are hormones secreted by L and K cells, respectively, and by LK cells. To characterize L and K cells during development, we examined ileum from embryonic (e)- 12 to e-17. Results: GLP-1 cells were first seen at e-15 and their number increased at e-17. At e-17, most GLP-1 cells co-expressed GIP. The transcription factors Pax6 and Pdx-1 are required for GIP expression, while Pax6 activates the expression of GLP-1. At e-17, the mucosa has GIP+ Pax6+, GIP+ Pdx-1+, GLP-1+ Pax6+, and GLP-1+ Pdx-1+ cells. Unlike ileal L cells of postnatal and adult mice, a subset of ileal L cells of e-17 embryos co-expressed GLP-1 and glucagon (Glu). Glu-positive cells contain proprotein-convertase 2 (PC2) and PC3/1, the enzymes responsible for Glu and GLP-1 synthesis, respectively. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that most GLP-1+ cells of ileum of e-17 embryos co-express GIP and, therefore, are LK cells. In addition, a subset of GLP-1+ cells of embryos but not of neonates co-express glucagon, indicating that the expression of Glu in GLP-1+ cells disappears after birth. Developmental Dynamics, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.