Expression of the relaxin family peptide 4 receptor by enterochromaffin cells of the mouse large intestine.
The gastrointestinal hormone, insulin-like peptide 5 (INSL5), is found in large intestinal enteroendocrine cells (EEC). One of its functions is to stimulate nerve circuits that increase propulsive activity of the colon through its receptor, the relaxin family peptide 4 receptor (RXFP4). To investigate the mechanisms that link INSL5 to stimulation of propulsion, we have determined the localisation of cells expressing Rxfp4 in the mouse colon, using a reporter mouse to locate cells expressing the gene. The fluorescent signal indicating the location of Rxfp4 expression was in EEC, the greatest overlap of Rxfp4-dependent labelling being with cells containing 5-HT. In fact, > 90% of 5-HT cells were positive for Rxfp4 labelling. A small proportion of cells with Rxfp4-dependent labelling was 5-HT-negative, 11-15% in the distal colon and rectum, and 35% in the proximal colon. Of these, some were identified as L-cells by immunoreactivity for oxyntomodulin. Rxfp4-dependent fluorescence was also found in a sparse population of nerve endings, where it was colocalised with CGRP. We used the RXFP4 agonist, INSL5-A13, to activate the receptor and probe the role of the 5-HT cells in which it is expressed. INSL5-A13 administered by i.p. injection to conscious mice caused an increase in colorectal propulsion that was antagonised by the 5-HT3 receptor blocker, alosetron, also given i.p. We conclude that stimuli that excite INSL5-containing colonic L-cells release INSL5 that, through RXFP4, excites 5-HT release from neighbouring endocrine cells, which in turn acts on 5-HT3 receptors of enteric sensory neurons to elicit propulsive reflexes.
Wellcome Trust (106262/Z/14/Z)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12012/3)