Intestinal Sensing of Nutrients

  • Gwen Tolhurst
  • Frank Reimann
  • Fiona M. GribbleEmail author
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 209)


Ingestion of a meal triggers a range of physiological responses both within and outside the gut, and results in the remote modulation of appetite and glucose homeostasis. Luminal contents are sensed by specialised chemosensitive cells scattered throughout the intestinal epithelium. These enteroendocrine and tuft cells make direct contact with the gut lumen and release a range of chemical mediators, which can either act in a paracrine fashion interacting with neighbouring cells and nerve endings or as classical circulating hormones. At the molecular level, the chemosensory machinery involves multiple and complex signalling pathways including activation of G-protein-coupled receptors and solute carrier transporters. This chapter will discuss our current knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying intestinal chemosensation with a particular focus on the relatively well-characterised nutrient-triggered secretion from the enteroendocrine system.


CCK Enteroendocrine cells GLP-1 GIP Nutrient transporters PYY 



2-Aminoethoxydiphenyl borate




Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases


Cyclic adenosine monophosphate




Diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1


Enterochromaffin cell


Free fatty acids


Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide


Glucagon-like peptide


G-protein-coupled receptor


Long-chain fatty acids


Microsomal triglyceride transfer protein






Protein kinase A


Protein kinase C


Phospholipase C




Short-chain fatty acids


Solute carrier transporters



FMG, GT and FR are supported by grants from the Wellcome Trust ((#WT088357, #WT084210).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gwen Tolhurst
    • 1
  • Frank Reimann
    • 1
  • Fiona M. Gribble
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Cambridge Institute for Medical ResearchCambridgeUK

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