Characteristics of gastrin controlled ECL cell specific gene expression

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: The ECL cells are histamine-producing endocrine cells in the oxymic mucosa that synthesize and secrete proteins and peptides. They are the primary target for gastrin and mediate the control of gastrin on acid secretion and oxyntic mucosal growth. Knowledge of the molecular biology of the ECL cell is therefore important for understanding gastric physiology. Accordingly, we wanted to identify genes that are characteristically expressed in the ECL cells and controlled by gastrin. Methods: Using Affymetrix GeneChips((R)), RNA expression profiles were generated from ECL cells isolated by counterflow elutriation from hyper- or hypogastrinemic rats. Contamination from non-endocrine cells was eliminated by subtraction of the expression profiles of the fundic and antral mucosa. Results: The expression of 365 genes was ECL cell characteristic. Gastrin was found to control the expression of 120 which could be divided into two major groups depending on the known or anticipated biological function of the encoded protein: genes encoding proteins involved in the secretory process and genes encoding proteins needed to generate energy for secretion. Interestingly, gastrin stimulation also increased ECL cells expression of anti-apoptotic genes. Conclusion: The ECL cell specific expression profile is reminiscent of that of neurons and other endocrine cells exhibiting high expression of genes encoding proteins involved in the synthesis, storage and secretion of neuropeptides or peptide hormones. Gastrin regulated the expression of one third of these genes and is thus involved in the control of secretion from the ECL cells.


  • Lennart Friis-Hansen
  • Charlotte Karlskov Schjerling
  • Charlotta de la Cour
  • Rolf Håkanson
  • Jens F. Rehfeld
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology


  • gene expression, cDNA microarray, rat, ECL cells, gastrin
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-161
JournalRegulatory Peptides
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch