The GI-tract is profoundly involved in the control of metabolism through peptide hormones secreted from enteroendocrine cells scattered throughout the gut mucosa. A large number of recently generated transgenic reporter mice have allowed for direct characterization of biochemical and cell biological properties of these previously highly elusive enteroendocrine cells. In particular the surprisingly broad co-expression of six functionally related hormones in the intestinal enteroendocrine cells indicates that it should be possible to control not only the hormone secretion but also the type and number of enteroendocrine cells. However, this will require a more deep understanding of the factors controlling differentiation, gene expression and specification of the enteroendocrine cells during their weekly renewal from progenitor cells in the crypts of the mucosa.
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