Chemosensing in the gastrointestinal tract is less well understood than many aspects of gut mechanosensitivity; however, it is important in the overall function of the GI tract and indeed the organism as a whole. Chemosensing in the gut represents a complex interplay between the function of enteroendocrine (EEC) cells and visceral (primarily vagal) afferent neurons. In this brief review, I will concentrate on a new data on endocrine cells in chemosensing in the GI tract, in particular on new findings on glucose-sensing by gut EEC cells and the importance of incretin peptides and vagal afferents in glucose homeostasis, on the role of G protein coupled receptors in gut chemosensing, and on the possibility that gut endocrine cells may be involved in the detection of a luminal constituent other than nutrients, the microbiota. The role of vagal afferent pathways as a downstream target of EEC cell products will be considered and, in particular, exciting new data on the plasticity of the vagal afferent pathway with respect to expression of receptors for GI hormones and how this may play a role in energy homeostasis will also be discussed.
- Gut endocrine cells
- Vagal afferent
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems