Enteroendocrine L cells and glucagon-like peptide 2 (GLP-2) secretion are activated in the intestinal adaptation process following bowel resection in patients with short bowel syndrome. We hypothesized that enteral activation of Takeda G protein-coupled receptor 5 (TGR5), expressed in enteroendocrine L cells, could augment endogenous GLP-2 secretion and the intestinal adaptation response. Our aim was to assess the efficacy of different TGR5 agonists to stimulate GLP-2 secretion and intestinal adaptation in a piglet short-bowel model. In study 1, parenterally fed neonatal pigs (n = 6/group) were gavaged with vehicle, olive extract (OE; 10 or 50 mg/kg), or ursolic acid (UA; 10 mg/kg), and plasma GLP-2 was measured for 6 h. In study 2, neonatal pigs (n = 6-8/group) were subjected to transection or 80% mid-small intestine resection and, after 2 days, assigned to treatments for 10 days as follows: 1) transection + vehicle (sham), 2) resection + vehicle (SBS), 3) resection + 30 mg UA (SBS + UA), and 4) resection + 180 mg/kg OE (SBS + OE). We measured plasma GLP-2, intestinal histology, cell proliferation, and gene expression, as well as whole body citrulline-arginine kinetics and bile acid profiles. In study 1, GLP-2 secretion was increased by UA and tended to be increased by OE. In study 2, SBS alone, but not additional treatment with either TGR5 agonist, resulted in increased mucosal thickness and crypt cell proliferation in remnant jejunum and ileum sections. SBS increased biliary and ileal concentration of bile acids and expression of inflammatory and farnesoid X receptor target genes, but these measures were suppressed by UA treatment. In conclusion, UA is an effective oral GLP-2 secretagogue in parenterally fed pigs but is not capable of augmenting GLP-2 secretion or the intestinal adaptation response after massive small bowel resection. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Therapeutic activation of endogenous glucagon-like peptide 2 (GLP-2) secretion is a promising strategy to improve intestinal adaptation in patients with short bowel syndrome. This study in neonatal pigs showed that oral supplementation with a selective Takeda G protein-coupled receptor 5 (TGR5) agonist is an effective approach to increase GLP-2 secretion. The results warrant further study to establish a more potent oral TGR5 agonist that can effectively improve intestinal adaptation in pediatric patients with SBS.
Keywords: GLP-2; TGR5; bile acids; short bowel syndrome; ursolic acid.