Aims: In order to study the role of prostaglandin in the regulation of the gastrointestinal functions, gene expression of prostaglandin receptors along the rat gastrointestinal tracts were investigated.
Methods: Rats were used for the study. The combination of counterflow elutriation separation of mucosal cells and Northern blot analysis was used to detect the gene expression of prostaglandin receptors in gastrointestinal tracts.
Results: In small intestine and colon, prostaglandin E2 EP1 and EP3 receptor mRNAs were mainly localized in the deeper intestinal wall containing muscle layers. EP4 receptor gene expression, on the other hand, was detected in the intestinal mucosal layer. In the stomach, EP1 mRNA was detected in gastric muscle layers, whereas EP3 and EP4 receptor gene expression was mainly present in the gastric mucosal layer containing epithelial cells. In gastric epithelial cells, parietal cells were found to have both EP3 and EP4 receptors. At lower concentrations, prostaglandin E2 inhibited gastric acid secretion by parietal cells probably through EP4 receptors. At higher concentrations, however, it stimulated it. On the other hand, mucous cells possessed only EP4 receptor mRNA.
Conclusions: Thus, it is suggested that prostaglandin E2 modulates gastrointestinal functions through at least three different prostaglandin receptors (EP1, EP3, and EP4), each of which has a distinct contribution in the gastrointestinal tract.