Trefoil peptide expression and goblet cell number in rat intestine: Effects of KGF and fasting-refeeding

Concepción Fernández-Estívariz, Li H. Gu, Liang Gu, Carolyn R. Jonas, Timothy M. Wallace, Robert R. Pascal, Kathryn L. Devaney, Catherine L. Farrell, Dean P. Jones, Daniel K. Podolsky, Thomas R. Ziegler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The trefoil factor family peptides TFF1, TFF2, and TFF3 are important for gut mucosal protection and restitution. Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) stimulates proliferation and differentiation of epithelial cells with potent effects on goblet cells. To investigate interactions between food intake and KGF, rats were fed ad libitum (control), fasted for 72 h, or fasted for 72 h and then refed for 72 h with or without KGF (3 mg·kg-1·day-1). With fasting, goblet cell number in duodenum increased, TFF3 mRNA in duodenum and jejunum decreased, and TFF3 protein did not change or increased. KGF during fasting stimulated colonic growth, normalized TFF3 mRNA in duodenum and jejunum, and broadly upregulated gut goblet cell number and TFF3 protein expression. With fasting-refeeding, KGF increased small bowel and colonic mucosal growth, goblet cell number, and TFF3 protein but had variable effects on TFF3 mRNA. KGF induced TFF2 mRNA and protein in duodenum and jejunum with both nutritional regimens. We conclude that nutrient availability modifies rat intestinal goblet cell number, TFF3 mRNA, and the gut-trophic effects of KGF in a region-specific manner. KGF enhances TFF2 expression in proximal small bowel and increases goblet cell number and TFF3 protein content throughout the intestine independent of food intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R564-R573
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number2 53-2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003


  • Colon
  • Intestinal mucosa
  • Keratinocyte growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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