Characterization of early developmental pattern of expression of neurotensin/neuromedin n gene in foregut and midgut

Xiao Min Wang, B. Mark Evers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The gut endocrine gene, neurotensin (NT/N), is expressed in a strict temporally and spatially specific pattern. Utilizing a sensitive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction procedure, we analyzed foregut and midgut organs for NT/N expression, determined the earliest apparent time point that NT/N is expressed in the gastrointestinal tract and compared the temporal relationship of NT/N with other genes. NT/N expression was detected in the fetal and early postnatal stomach. In the small bowel, NT/N was expressed at the earliest fetal time (14 days) that the small bowel could be reliably delineated from other gut organs; in contrast, expression of sucrase-isomaltase was only apparent at 28 days after birth. NT/N was expressed in the fetal (12, 14 and 16 days) liver and then again on days 3 and 7 after birth; however, NT/N was detected only in the fetal (14 and 16 days) pancreas. Finally, NT/N expression was first detected at ~12 days gestation in the primitive foregut and midgut, thus occurring significantly earlier than actual intestinal cytodifferentiation. NT/N is widely expressed in the gastrointestinal tract during fetal development, suggesting the presence of a shared ancestral stem cell; NT/N expression is then restricted to the small bowel of the adult. The determination of the cellular factors regulating the expression of NT/N will provide a better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the strict patterning of gene expression in the gastrointestinal tract and possibly gut differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Dr. Paul Dobner (University of Massachusetts, Worcester, Massachusetts) for helpful advice and discussion throughout the course of our work and for providing suggestions regarding design of the rat NT/N PCR primers. In addition, we thank Eileen Figueroa and KaenrMartin for manuscript preparation. This work was supported by grants AG10885, DK48498, and DK36058 from the National Institutes of Health and the James E. Thompson Memorial Foundation.


  • Enteroendocrine cells
  • Gut differentiation
  • Ontogeny
  • Regional gene expression
  • Reverse transcriptionpolymerase chain reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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