Background/Aims: Pharmacological and morphological studies suggest that the gut mucosal immune system and local neuropeptide-containing neurones interact. We aimed to determine whether gut immune cells are targets for calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which has potent immune regulatory properties. Methods: Using density gradient centrifugation, rat lamina propria mononuclear cells (LP-MNCs) and intra-epithelial lymphocytes (IELs) were isolated. RT-PCR was employed for the detection of mRNA of rat calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CRLR), which is considered to represent the pharmacologically defined CGRP receptor-1 subtype, as well as mRNA of the receptor activity-modifying proteins, which are essential for CRLR function and determine ligand specificity. A radioreceptor assay was employed for the detection of specific CGRP binding sites. Results: RT-PCR and DNA sequencing showed that LP-MNCs and IELs express CRLR. Incubation of isolated LP-MNCs with radiolabelled αCGRP revealed the existence of specific binding sites for CGRP. Conclusion: These novel data indicate that mucosal immune cells of the rat gut are a target for CGRP and provide significant evidence that CGRP functions as an immune regulator in the gut mucosa.
- Calcitonin gene-related peptide
- Calcitonin receptor-like receptor
- Gut immune cells