GLP-2 enhances barrier formation and attenuates TNFα-induced changes in a Caco-2 cell model of the intestinal barrier

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Introduction: Tight junctions are intercellular permeability seals that regulate paracellular transport across epithelia. Tight junction function, expression and localisation of constituent proteins are significantly altered by cytokines such as TNFα. Glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) is an intestinotrophic enteroendocrine peptide. It is not known whether GLP-2 regulates the barrier or tight junctions. The aim of this study was to investigate whether GLP-2 has an effect on tight junction function or protein expression, alone or in response to TNFα exposure. Methods: Caco-2 cells were grown to confluence on filters in the presence or absence of GLP-2. The time course of transepithelial electrical resistance developing across the monolayer was measured; tight junction protein expression was quantified by immunoblotting. At day 20, TNFα in the presence or absence of GLP-2 was added. Changes in TEER and tight junction proteins expression were quantified. Both TNFα and GLP-2 were added on the basolateral side. Results: GLP-2 exposed Caco-2 cell monolayers showed a significant increase in transepithelial electrical resistance compared to that in untreated control cells. At the same time, expression of the tight junction proteins occludin and zona occludens-1 (ZO-1) was increased at day 17 post-seeding (1.6-fold; p = 0.037 and 4.7 fold; p = 0.039 respectively). Subsequent TNFα exposure induced a significant 9.3-fold (p <0.001) decrease in transepithelial electrical resistance and a corresponding reduction in the expression of ZO-1 (5.3 fold; p <0.01). However, the TNFα-induced reduction in transepithelial electrical resistance in GLP-2-exposed cells was highly attenuated to 1.8-fold (p <0.01). No change in tight junction protein expression was noted in GLP-2 exposed cells after cytokine exposure. Conclusion: GLP-2 enhances formation of the epithelial barrier and its constituent proteins in Caco-2 cells, and diminishes the effects of TNFα. If these effects are replicated in vivo the GLP-2 receptor may present a therapeutic target in intestinal inflammation. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-101
Number of pages6
JournalRegulatory Peptides
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2012