Molecules implicated in glucose homeostasis are differentially expressed in the trachea of lean and obese Zucker rats

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F. Merigo *
F. Boschi
C. Lasconi
D. Benati
A. Sbarbati
(*) Corresponding Author:
F. Merigo |


Recent studies indicate that the processes mediated by the (T1R2/T1R3) glucose/sugar receptor of gustatory cells in the tongue, and hormones like leptin and ghrelin contribute to the regulation of glucose homeostasis. Altered plasma levels of leptin and ghrelin are associated with obesity both in humans and rodents. In the present study, we evaluated the ultrastructure of the mucosa, and the expression of molecules implicated in the regulation of glucose homeostasis (GLUT2, SGLT1, T1R3, ghrelin and its receptor) in the trachea of an animal model of obesity (Zucker rats). We found that the tracheal epithelium of obese animals was characterized by the presence of poorly differentiated cells. Ciliated and secretory cells were the cell lineages with greatest loss of differentiation. Severe epithelial alterations were associated with marked deposit of extracellular matrix in the lamina propria. The expression pattern of GLUT2 and SGLT1 glucose transporters was similar in the trachea of both the Zucker rat genotypes, whereas that of T1R3 was reduced in ciliated cells of obese rats. A different immunolocalization for ghrelin was also found in the trachea of obese rats. In conclusion, the tracheal morphological alterations in obese animals seem to compromise the expression of molecules involved in the homeostasis of glucose.

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