Regulation of surfactant-like particle secretion by Caco-2 cells

Michael J. Engle, Akhtar Mahmood, David H. Alpers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Surfactant-like particle (SLP) is a phosphatidylcholine (PC)-rich membrane produced in the small intestine, and its secretion is increased by fat feeding. In Caco-2 cells known to produce SLP, preincubation with [3H]palmitate labelled the SLP and was used as a marker for newly secreted membrane. SLP-associated PC and protein (d = 1.07-1.08 g/ml in a linear non-equilibrium NaBr gradient) were secreted in parallel with triacylglycerols (TG) and at a rate about twice the control rate in response to feeding cells with an oleate/egg PC mixture. Cholesterol and apolipoprotein A-I identified only a small peak corresponding to high-density lipoprotein (HDL), but the largest peak corresponded with SLP (d = 1.07-1.08). Palmitate incorporation into PC showed a similar small peak migrating at the density of HDL, but most labelled PC secreted from the cells was due to SLP. PC secretion, alkaline phosphatase activity, and newly synthesized immunoprecipitated SLP proteins from conditioned serum-free media migrated together at a density of ≥1.21 g/ml in a lipoprotein NaBr step gradient, and represented SLP. Glycerol incorporated into TG migrated at a peak density of 1.12 g/ml, consistent with HDL secretion from cells incubated in serum-free media. These data confirm that the secreted PC in SLP is distinct from lipoprotein particles. Incorporation of [3H]palmitate into the PC fraction of either whole cell homogenate or isolated brush border membranes was not affected by oleate/egg PC feeding. Both Pluronic L-81, an inhibitor of chylomicron secretion, and BMS-197636-02, a microsomal triglyceride transfer protein inhibitor, blocked the secretion of both TG and PC. Elevation of intracellular cAMP levels that stimulate surfactant secretion from type II pneumocytes caused a 50% reduction in SLP and TG secretion from Caco-2 cells. These results confirm the SLP response to fat feeding found in vivo, further supporting a role for SLP in TG secretion from the enterocyte, and show that the regulation of SLP secretion differs from that of pulmonary surfactant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-380
Number of pages12
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2001


  • Caco-2 cell
  • Lipid absorption
  • Lipid transport
  • Surfactant-like particle


Dive into the research topics of 'Regulation of surfactant-like particle secretion by Caco-2 cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this