Feeding-dependent activation of enteric cells and sensory neurons by lymphatic fluid: Evidence for a neurolymphocrine system

Daniel P. Poole, Mike Lee, Patrick Tso, Nigel W. Bunnett, Sek Jin Yo, Tina Marie Lieu, Amy Shiu, Jen Chywan Wang, Daniel K. Nomura, Gregory W. Aponte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lymphatic fluid is a plasma filtrate that can be viewed as having biological activity through the passive accumulation of molecules from the interstitial fluid. The possibility that lymphatic fluid is part of an active self-contained signaling process that parallels the endocrine system, through the activation of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR), has remained unexplored. We show that the GPCR lysophosphatidic acid 5 (LPA5) is found in sensory nerve fibers expressing calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) that innervate the lumen of lymphatic lacteals and enteric nerves. Using LPA5 as a model for nutrient-responsive GPCRs present on sensory nerves, we demonstrate that dietary protein hydrolysate (peptone) can induce c-Fos expression in enterocytes and nerves that express LPA5. Mesenteric lymphatic fluid (MLF) mobilizes intracellular calcium in cell models expressing LPA5 upon feeding in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Primary cultured neurons of the dorsal root ganglia expressing CGRP are activated by MLF, which is enhanced upon LPA5 overexpression. Activation is independent of the known LPA5 agonists, lysophosphatidic acid and farnesyl pyrophosphate. These data bring forth a pathway for the direct stimulation of sensory nerves by luminal contents and interstitial fluid. Thus, by activating LPA5 on sensory nerves, MLF provides a means for known and yet to be identified constituents of the interstitial fluid to act as signals to comprise a "neurolymphocrine" system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G686-G698
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2014


  • G protein-coupled receptor
  • Intestine
  • Lacteal
  • Lysophosphatidic acid 5
  • Nutrient sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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