Taste Sensing in the Colon

Author(s): Izumi Kaji, Shin-ichiro Karaki, Atsukazu Kuwahara

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Design

Volume 20 , Issue 16 , 2014

Become EABM
Become Reviewer
Call for Editor


The colonic lumen is continually exposed to many compounds, including beneficial and harmful compounds that are produced by colonic microflora. The intestinal epithelia form a barrier between the internal and luminal (external) environments. Chemical receptors that sense the luminal environment are thought to play important roles as sensors and as modulators of epithelial cell functions. The recent molecular identification of various membrane receptor proteins has revealed the sensory role of intestinal epithelial cells. Nutrient sensing by these receptors in the small intestine is implicated in nutrient absorption and metabolism. However, little is known about the physiological roles of chemosensors in the large intestine. Since 1980s, researchers have examined the effects of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), the primary products of commensal bacteria, on gut motility, secretion, and incretin release, for example. In this decade, the SCFA receptor genes and their expression were identified in the mammalian colon. Furthermore, many other chemical receptors, including taste and olfactory receptors have been found in colonic epithelial cells. These findings indicate that the large intestinal epithelia express chemosensors that detect the luminal contents, particularly bacterial metabolites, and induce the host defense systems and the modulation of systemic metabolism via incretin release. In this review, we describe the local effects of chemical stimuli on the lumen associated with the expression pattern of sensory receptors. We propose that sensory receptors expressed in the colonic mucosa play important roles in luminal chemosensing to maintain homeostasis.

Keywords: Luminal chemosensing, colonic anion secretion, taste receptors, transient receptor potential cation channels, short-chain fatty acid receptors.

Rights & PermissionsPrintExport Cite as

Article Details

Year: 2014
Page: [2766 - 2774]
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.2174/13816128113199990573
Price: $65

Article Metrics

PDF: 54