The now and then of gut-brain signaling.
Since their very beginnings, animals had gut sensory epithelial cells. In one of the first multicellular animals, Trichoplax - a literal wandering gut - food sensing and feeding was coordinated by specialized ventral sensor cells. In mammals, including humans, gut epithelial sensor cells (a.k.a enteroendocrine cells) have been recognized for an array of neuropeptides, like ghrelin and cholecystokinin, that modulate hunger or satiety. Indeed, since first described as "clear cells" by Rudfolf Heidenhain (1868), research efforts increasingly focused on their hormone neuropeptides leading to the alphabetical classification of one cell-one hormone (e.g. I-cell synthesizes only cholecystokinin). A recent explosion of molecular tools to study the biology of single cells is expanding the imagination of studies and unveiling intriguing aspects of gut sensory transduction. To mention a few: multimodal sensing, one cell expressing both ghrelin and cholecystokinin-the yin and yang of appetite-, and synapses with nerves. This brief account examines recent advances on gut sensory transduction to highlight how food and bacteria in the gut alter eating.
Kaelberer, MM; Bohórquez, DV
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