We previously reported that high levels of plasma neurotensin (NT), a gut hormone released from enteroendocrine cells of the small bowel, contribute to obesity and comorbid conditions. Gut microbiota has been implicated in the obesity development. Paneth cells are critical in maintaining gut microbiota composition and homeostasis by releasing antimicrobial proteins including α-defensins. The purpose of our current study was to determine the possible role of NT in gut microbiota composition and α-defensin gene expression associated with obesity. Here we show that the ratio of Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes (F/B ratio) and intestinal proinflammatory cytokines is significantly increased in NT+/+ mice fed with a high-fat diet (HFD) which were improved in NT-deficient mice. HFD disrupted the intestinal Mmp7/α-defensin axis, which was completely prevented in NT−/− mice. In addition, NT treatment inhibited DEFA5 expression and concurrent NF-κB activity, which was blocked by a pan PKC inhibitor (Gö6983) or an inhibitor for atypical PKCs (CRT0066854). More importantly, the shRNA-mediated knockdown of atypical PKCτ reversed NT-attenuated DEFA5 expression and increased NF-κB activity. NT contributes to the HFD-induced disruption of gut microbiota composition and α-defensin expression. PKCτ/λ plays a central role in NT-mediated α-defensin gene expression which might be mediated through the inhibition of NF-κB signaling pathways in Paneth cells.
- Paneth cells