Fasting and postprandial concentrations of GLP-1 in intestinal lymph and portal plasma: evidence for selective release of GLP-1 in the lymph system.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Glucagon like peptide 1 (GLP-1) is an intestinal hormone that plays an important role in glucose metabolism. GLP-1 is released from mucosal L cells following nutrient ingestion and contributes to the incretin effect, with the enhancement of insulin secretion occurring with enteral compared with intravenous glucose administration. The mechanisms linking nutrient absorption and GLP-1 secretion are unknown, and studies addressing this topic, particularly in small animal models, have been hampered by the relatively low concentrations of GLP-1 in the circulation. We hypothesized that GLP-1 levels would be higher in samples of intestinal lymph compared with plasma and could provide a novel system in which to study meal-induced hormone secretion. We addressed this hypothesis in conscious rats with indwelling catheters in the portal vein and distal intestinal lymph duct. These animals had plasma and lymph sampled before and for 240 min after instillation of a liquid meal in the gastrointestinal tract. Lymph contained detectable concentrations of glucose, insulin, and GLP-1 that were reliably measured using our assays. Before and after the Ensure feeding, plasma insulin levels were approximately two times as high in portal plasma as intestinal lymph. In marked contrast, GLP-1 levels were five to six times higher in lymph relative to portal plasma following nutrient administration. This relative difference in GLP-1 levels was even greater when lymph was compared with peripheral plasma and dramatically exceeded the ratio of lymph to plasma peptide tyrosine-tyrosine concentrations. This is the first observation of a gastrointestinal hormone being disproportionately transported in lymph. The remarkable levels of GLP-1 in intestinal lymph demonstrate the potential for lymphatic sampling as a more sensitive means of studying the secretory physiology of this hormone in vivo. In addition, these data raise the possibility that intestinal lymph may serve as a specialized signaling conduit for regulatory peptides secreted by gastrointestinal endocrine cells.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • D'Alessio, D; Lu, W; Sun, W; Zheng, S; Yang, Q; Seeley, R; Woods, SC; Tso, P

Published Date

  • December 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 293 / 6

Start / End Page

  • R2163 - R2169

PubMed ID

  • 17898126

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0363-6119

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1152/ajpregu.00911.2006


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States