Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) mimetics are effective drugs for treatment of type 2 diabetes, and there is consequently extensive interest in increasing endogenous GLP-1 secretion and L-cell abundance. Here we identify G-protein–coupled bile acid receptor 1 (GPBAR1) as a selective regulator of intestinal L-cell differentiation. Lithocholic acid and the synthetic GPBAR1 agonist, L3740, selectively increased L-cell density in mouse and human intestinal organoids and elevated GLP-1 secretory capacity. L3740 induced expression of Gcg and transcription factors Ngn3 and NeuroD1. L3740 also increased the L-cell number and GLP-1 levels and improved glucose tolerance in vivo. Further mechanistic examination revealed that the effect of L3740 on L cells required intact GLP-1 receptor and serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 4 (5-HT4) signaling. Importantly, serotonin signaling through 5-HT4 mimicked the effects of L3740, acting downstream of GLP-1. Thus, GPBAR1 agonists and other powerful GLP-1 secretagogues facilitate L-cell differentiation through a paracrine GLP-1–dependent and serotonin-mediated mechanism.
- Received August 5, 2019.
- Accepted January 22, 2020.
- © 2020 by the American Diabetes Association.