Distribution of K and L cells in the feline intestinal tract

Chen Gilor, S. Gilor, T. K. Graves, L. B. Borst, P. Labelle, T. K. Ridge, D. Santoro, O. Dossin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP), glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 and GLP-2 are hormones secreted from specialized K cells (GIP) and L cells (GLP-1, GLP-2) in the intestinal mucosa. These hormones play major roles in health and disease by modulating insulin secretion, satiety, and multiple intestinal functions. The aim of this study was to describe the distribution of K cells and L cells in the intestines of healthy cats. Samples of duodenum, mid-jejunum, ileum, cecum, and colon were collected from 5 cats that were euthanized for reasons unrelated to this study and had no gross or histologic evidence of gastrointestinal disease. Samples stained with rabbit-anti-porcine GIP, mouse-anti-(all mammals) GLP-1, or rabbit-anti-(all mammals) GLP-2 antibodies were used to determine the number of cells in 15 randomly selected 400× microscopic fields. In contrast to other mammals (eg, dogs) in which K cells are not present in the ileum and aborally, GIP-expressing cells are abundant throughout the intestines in cats (6/high-power field in the ileum). Cells expressing GLP-1 or GLP-2 were most abundant in the ileum (9/high-power field) as in other mammals, but, although GLP-1-expressing cells were abundant throughout the intestines, GLP-2-expressing cells were rarely found in the duodenum. In conclusion, the distribution of GIP-secreting K cells in cats is different from the distribution of K cells that is described in other mammals. The difference in distribution of GLP-2- and GLP-1-expressing cells suggests that more than 1 distinct population of L cells is present incats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-54
Number of pages6
JournalDomestic Animal Endocrinology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • GIP
  • GLP-1
  • GLP-2
  • Incretin
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology
  • Food Animals
  • Medicine(all)


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