Role of CCK1 and Y2 receptors in activation of hindbrain neurons induced by intragastric administration of bitter taste receptor ligands

Shuzhen Hao, Catia Sternini, Helen E Raybould

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Scopus citations


G-protein-coupled receptors signaling bitter taste (T2Rs) in the oral gustatory system and the α-subunit of the taste-specific G-protein gustducin are expressed in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. α-Subunit of the taste-specific G-protein gustducin colocalizes with markers of enteroendocrine cells in human and mouse GI mucosa, including peptide YY. Activation of T2Rs increases cholecystokinin (CCK) release from the enteroendocrine cell line, STC-1. The aim of this study was to determine whether T2R agonists in the GI tract activate neurons in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) and whether this activation is mediated by CCK and peptide YY acting at CCK1 and Y2 receptors. Immunocytochemistry for the protooncogene c-Fos protein, a marker for neuronal activation, was used to determine activation of neurons in the midregion of the NTS, the region where vagal afferents from the GI tract terminate. Intragastric administration of the T2R agonist denatonium benzoate (DB), or phenylthiocarbamide (PTC), or a combination of T2R agonists significantly increased the number of Fos-positive neurons in the mid-NTS; subdiaphragmatic vagotomy abolished the NTS response to the mixture of T2R agonists. Deletion of CCK1 receptor gene or blockade of CCK1 receptors with devazepide abolishes the activation of NTS neurons in response to DB, but had no effect on the response to PTC. Administration of the Y2 receptor antagonist BIIE0246 blocks the activation of NTS neurons to DB, but not PTC. These findings suggest that activation of neurons in the NTS following administration of T2R agonists to the GI tract involves CCK1 and Y2 receptors located on vagal afferent terminals in the gut wall. T2Rs may regulate GI function via release of regulatory peptides and activation of the vagal reflex pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008



  • Bitter taste receptors
  • Cholecystokinin 1 receptor
  • Fos
  • Nucleus of the solitary tract
  • Vagal afferent
  • Y receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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