A high-fat diet regulates gastrin and acid secretion through primary cilia

Milena Saqui-Salces, William E. Dowdle, Jeremy F. Reiter, Juanita L. Merchant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The role of primary cilia in the gastrointestinal tract has not been examined. Here we report the presence of primary cilia on gastric endocrine cells producing gastrin, ghrelin, and somatostatin (Sst), hormones regulated by food intake. During eating, cilia in the gastric antrum decreased, whereas gastric acid and circulating gastrin increased. Mice fed high-fat chow showed a delayed decrease in antral cilia, increased plasma gastrin, and gastric acidity. Mice fed high-fat chow for 3 wk showed lower cilia numbers and acid but higher gastrin levels than mice fed a standard diet, suggesting that fat affects gastric physiology. Ex vivo experiments showed that cilia in the corpus responded to acid and distension, whereas cilia in the antrum responded to food. To analyze the role of gastric cilia, we conditionally deleted the intraflagellar transport protein Ift88 (Ift88-/fl). In fed Ift88 -/fl mice, gastrin levels were higher, and gastric acidity was lower. Moreover, gastrin and Sst gene expression did not change in response to food as in controls. At 8 mo, Ift88-/fl mice developed foveolar hyperplasia, hypergastrinemia, and hypochlorhydria associated with endocrine dysfunction. Our results show that components of food (fat) are sensed by antral cilia on endocrine cells, which modulates gastrin secretion and gastric acidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3127-3139
Number of pages13
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemosensing
  • Endocrine cell
  • Gastric hyperplasia
  • Ghrelin
  • Somatostatin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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