Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title






DOI of Original Publication

10.1371/journal. pone.0166565


Originally published at pone.0166565

Date of Submission

January 2017


In addition to the T2R bitter taste receptors, neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) have recently been shown to be involved in the bitter taste transduction of nicotine, acetylcholine and ethanol. However, at present it is not clear if nAChRs are expressed in enteroendocrine cells other than beta cells of the pancreas and enterochromaffin cells, and if they play a role in the synthesis and release of neurohumoral peptides. Accordingly, we investigated the expression and functional role of nAChRs in enteroendocrine STC-1 cells. Our studies using RT-PCR, qRT-PCR, immunohistochemical and Western blotting techniques demonstrate that STC-1 cells express several α and β nAChR subunits. Exposing STC-1 cells to nicotine acutely (24h) or chronically (4 days) induced a differential increase in the expression of nAChR subunit mRNA and protein in a dose- and time-dependent fashion. Mecamylamine, a non-selective antagonist of nAChRs, inhibited the nicotineinduced increase in mRNA expression of nAChRs. Exposing STC-1 cells to nicotine increased intracellular Ca2+ in a dose-dependent manner that was inhibited in the presence of mecamylamine or dihydro-β-erythroidine, a α4β2 nAChR antagonist. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA and protein were detected in STC-1 cells using RT-PCR, specific BDNF antibody, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Acute nicotine exposure (30 min) decreased the cellular content of BDNF in STC-1 cells. The nicotine-induced decrease in BDNF was inhibited in the presence of mecamylamine. We also detected α3 and β4 mRNA in intestinal mucosal cells and α3 protein expression in intestinal enteroendocrine cells. We conclude that STC-1 cells and intestinal enteroendocrine cells express nAChRs. In STC-1 cells nAChR expression is modulated by exposure to nicotine in a doseand time-dependent manner. Nicotine interacts with nAChRs and inhibits BDNF expression in STC-1 cells.


Copyright: © 2016 Qian et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Is Part Of

VCU Physiology and Biophysics Publications