ErbB Signaling Is Required for the Proliferative Actions of GLP-2 in the Murine Gut

      Background & Aims

      Glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) is a 33-amino acid peptide hormone secreted by enteroendocrine cells in response to nutrient ingestion. GLP-2 stimulates crypt cell proliferation leading to expansion of the mucosal epithelium; however, the mechanisms transducing the trophic effects of GLP-2 are incompletely understood.


      We examined the gene expression profiles and growth-promoting actions of GLP-2 in normal mice in the presence or absence of an inhibitor of ErbB receptor signaling, in Glp2r−/− mice and in Egfrwa2 mice harboring a hypomorphic point mutation in the epidermal growth factor receptor.


      Exogenous GLP-2 administration rapidly induced the expression of a subset of ErbB ligands including amphiregulin, epiregulin, and heparin binding (HB)-epidermal growth factor, in association with induction of immediate early gene expression in the small and large bowel. These actions of GLP-2 required a functional GLP-2 receptor because they were eliminated in Glp2r−/− mice. In contrast, insulin-like growth factor-I and keratinocyte growth factor, previously identified mediators of GLP-2 action, had no effect on the expression of these ErbB ligands. The GLP-2-mediated induction of ErbB ligand expression was not metalloproteinase inhibitor sensitive but was significantly diminished in Egfrwa2 mice and completed abrogated in wild-type mice treated with the pan-ErbB inhibitor CI-1033. Furthermore, the stimulatory actions of GLP-2 on crypt cell proliferation and bowel growth were eliminated in the presence of CI-1033.


      These findings identify the ErbB signaling network as a target for GLP-2 action leading to stimulation of growth factor-dependent signal transduction and bowel growth in vivo.

      Abbreviations used in this paper:

      EGF (epidermal growth factor), EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor), GLP (glucagon-like peptide), IGF-I (insulin-like growth factor-I), KGF (keratinocyte growth factor)
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