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Signaling of free fatty acid receptors 2 and 3 differs in colonic mucosa following selective agonism or coagonism by luminal propionate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Iain R. Tough, Sarah Forbes, Helen M. Cox

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Early online date23 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


King's Authors


Background: Propionate exhibits affinity for free fatty acid receptor 2 (FFA2, formerly GPR43) and FFA3 (GPR41). These two G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are expressed by enteroendocrine L cells that contain anorectic peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), while FFA3 is also expressed by enteric neurons. Few studies have investigated the individual roles of FFA2 and FFA3 in propionate's gastrointestinal (GI) effects. Here, we compared FFA2, FFA3, and propionate mucosal responses utilizing selective ligands including an FFA3 antagonist, in mouse and human colonic mucosa. Methods: Vectorial ion transport was measured in native colonic preparations from normal mouse and human colon with intact submucosal innervation. Endogenous fecal pellet propulsion was monitored in colons isolated from wild-type (WT) and PYY−/− mice. Key Results: FFA2 and FFA3 signaling differed significantly. FFA2 agonism involved endogenous L cell-derived PYY and was glucose dependent, while FFA3 agonism was independent of PYY and glucose, but required submucosal enteric neurons for activity. Tonic FFA3 activity was observed in mouse and human colon mucosa. Apical propionate responses were a combination of FFA2-PYY mediation and FFA3 neuronal GLP-1- and CGRP-dependent signaling in mouse ascending colon mucosa. Propionate also slowed WT and PYY−/− colonic transit, and this effect was blocked by a GLP-1 receptor antagonist. Conclusions & Inferences: We conclude that luminal propionate costimulates FFA2 and FFA3 pathways, reducing anion secretion and slowing colonic motility; FFA2 via PYY mediation and FFA3 signaling by activation of enteric sensory neurons.

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