The steroid glycoside H.g.-12 from Hoodia gordonii activates the human bitter receptor TAS2R14 and induces CCK release from HuTu-80 cells

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2010 Dec;299(6):G1368-75. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00135.2010. Epub 2010 Oct 7.


Steroid glycosides extracted from the succulent plant Hoodia gordonii are suggested to have appetite-suppressant effects both in animals and humans. Yet, the mechanisms underlying the putative satiety action of Hoodia steroid glycosides are not fully understood. We found that H.g.-12, a steroid glycoside purified from H. gordonii extract, initiated cholecystokinin (CCK) secretion both ex vivo in rat intestine and in vitro in the human enteroendocrine (EC) cell line HuTu-80. CCK is known to exert central effects on appetite suppression via the vagus nerve which afferents terminate in the gut wall. Recent data show that G protein-coupled receptors signaling bitter taste (T2Rs) are expressed in both rodent and human gastrointestinal tract. It was further demonstrated that bitter sensing is functional in mouse STC-1 EC cells and leads to CCK secretion via increased intracellular Ca²(+) concentrations. Based on the bitter taste of H. gordonii purified extracts, we assessed whether H.g.-12 could activate human bitter receptors. The steroid glycoside activated selectively TAS2R7 and TAS2R14, both heterologously expressed in HEK 293 cells. Removing an essential structural feature from the steroid glycoside inhibited H.g.-12-induced Ca²(+) increase in TAS2R14-expressing HEK cells and abolished H.g.-12-induced CCK secretion from human EC cells. Similarly, a nonspecific bitter receptor antagonist abolished H.g.-12-induced CCK secretion in HuTu-80 cells. These results point to a potential route of action by which components of Hoodia might influence appetite control. Our data also provide additional evidence that bitter taste-sensing mechanisms are coupled to hormone release from EC cells in the intestine. Moreover, we identified a natural agonist of TAS2R7 and TAS2R14 for further studies on the role of bitter receptors in satiety control and food intake.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apocynaceae / chemistry*
  • Appetite Depressants / chemistry
  • Appetite Depressants / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line
  • Cholecystokinin / metabolism*
  • Cricetinae
  • Humans
  • Intestines / drug effects
  • Molecular Structure
  • Rats
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Saponins / chemistry
  • Saponins / pharmacology*
  • Sincalide / analogs & derivatives
  • Sincalide / genetics
  • Sincalide / metabolism
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • 8-sulfocholecystokinin octapeptide
  • Appetite Depressants
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Saponins
  • taste receptors, type 2
  • Cholecystokinin
  • Sincalide