Impact of high-fat feeding on basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors controlling enteroendocrine cell differentiation

Y. Sakar, F. A. Duca, B. Langelier, F. Devime, H. Blottiere, C. Delorme, P. Renault, M. Covasa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Gut hormones secreted by enteroendocrine cells (EECs) play a major role in energy regulation. Differentiation of EEC is controlled by the expression of basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors. High-fat (HF) feeding alters gut hormone levels; however, the impact of HF feeding on bHLH transcription factors in mediating EEC differentiation and subsequent gut hormone secretion and expression is not known. METHODS: Outbred Sprague-Dawley rats were maintained on chow or HF diet for 12 weeks. Gene and protein expression of intestinal bHLH transcription factors, combined with immunofluorescence studies, were analyzed for both groups in the small intestine and colon. Gut permeability, intestinal lipid and carbohydrate transporters as well as circulating levels and intestinal protein expression of gut peptides were determined. RESULTS: We showed that HF feeding resulted in hyperphagia and increased adiposity. HF-fed animals exhibited decreased expression of bHLH transcription factors controlling EEC differentiation (MATH1, NGN3, NEUROD1) and increased expression of bHLH factors modulating enterocyte expression. Furthermore, HF-fed animals had decreased number of total EECs and L-cells. This was accompanied by increased gut permeability and expression of lipid and carbohydrate transporters, and a decrease in circulating and intestinal gut hormone levels. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our results demonstrate that HF feeding caused decreased secretory lineage (that is, EECs) differentiation through downregulation of bHLH transcription factors, resulting in reduced EEC number and gut hormone levels. Thus, impaired EEC differentiation pathways by HF feeding may promote hyperphagia and subsequent obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1440-1448
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 13 2014


  • Enteroendocrine cells
  • GLP-1
  • Gut peptides
  • Intestinal chemosensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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