Guanylin, an endogenous ligand for C-type guanylate cyclase, is produced by goblet cells in the rat intestine

Zhiping Li, Bonnie Taylor-Blake, Alan R. Light, Michael F. Goy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Guanylin activates an intestinal guanylate cyclase (GCC) and stimulates electrolyte movement across the gut epithelium. Cells expressing guanylin messenger RNA have been localized to the epithelial cell layer of the intestine; however, the identity of the guanylin-producing cells has not been determined. The aim of this study was to identify cells that express guanylin in the rat intestine. Methods: Antibodies were raised against defined proguanylin epitopes, evaluated by Western blotting, and used for immunoperoxidase histochemistry. Results: Guanylin-like immunoreactivity was localized to a subset of goblet cells. In the small intestine, most, perhaps all, goblet cells in the villi were immunopositive, as were some goblet cells in upper crypts; however, goblet cells deep within crypts were unlabeled. In the colon, goblet cells clustered in the necks and around the openings of crypts were immunopositive, whereas (as in the small intestine) goblet cells in deeper crypt regions were unlabeled. In some animals, immunoreactive columnar epithelial cells were also observed in the colon (although such cells were not apparent in the small intestine). Relative labeling of columnar cells varied from animal to animal. Conclusions: Guanylin is expressed in mature goblet cells. If secreted in conjunction with mucin, it could play a role in the hydration of mucus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1863-1875
Number of pages13
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • C-type guanylate cyclase
  • Escherichia coli heat-stable enterotoxin
  • GCC
  • HPLC
  • ITF
  • PAS
  • STa
  • TFA
  • diazepam-binding factor
  • high-pressure liquid chromatography
  • intestinal trefoil factor
  • periodic acid-Schiff
  • sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis
  • trifluoroacetic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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