Effect of Obesity on the Expression of Nutrient Receptors and Satiety Hormones in the Human Colon

L. Baumard, Z.Z.R.M. Weerts, A.A.M. Masclee, D. Keszthelyi, A.T. Michael-Titus, M. Peiris*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Receptors located on enteroendocrine cells (EECs) of the colon can detect nutrients in the lumen. These receptors regulate appetite through a variety of mechanisms, including hormonal and neuronal signals. We assessed the effect of obesity on the expression of these G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) and hormones at both mRNA and protein level. Methods: qPCR and immunohistochemistry were used to examine colonic tissue from cohorts of patients from the Netherlands (proximal and sigmoid tissue) and the United Kingdom (tissue from across the colon) and patients were grouped by body mass index (BMI) value (BMI < 25 and BMI >= 25). Results: The mRNA expression of the hormones/signaling molecules serotonin, glucagon, peptide YY (PYY), CCK and somatostatin were not significantly different between BMI groups. GPR40 mRNA expression was significantly increased in sigmoid colon samples in the BMI >= 25 group, but not proximal colon. GPR41, GPR109a, GPR43, GPR120, GPRC6A, and CaSR mRNA expression were unaltered between low and high BMI. At the protein level, serotonin and PYY containing cell numbers were similar in high and low BMI groups. Enterochromaffin cells (EC) showed high degree of co-expression with amino acid sensing receptor, CaSR while co-expression with PYY containing L-cells was limited, regardless of BMI. Conclusions: While expression of medium/long chain fatty acid receptor GPR40 was increased in the sigmoid colon of the high BMI group, expression of other nutrient sensing GPCRs, and expression profiles of EECs involved in peripheral mechanisms of appetite regulation were unchanged. Collectively, these data suggest that in human colonic tissue, EEC and nutrient-sensing receptor expression profiles are not affected despite changes to BMI.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1271
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • nutrient sensing
  • enteroendocrine cells (EECs)
  • appetite regulation
  • G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs)
  • obesity

Cite this