Since the gene expression of guanylin peptides and their receptors, guanylyl cyclase Cs, is enhanced in the intestine of seawater (SW)-adapted eels compared with fresh water (FW)-adapted fish, the guanylin family may play an important role in SW adaptation in eels. The present study analyzed the effect of three homologous guanylin peptides, guanylin, uroguanylin and renoguanylin, on ion movement through the eel intestine, and examined the target of guanylin action using Ussing chambers. The middle and posterior parts of the intestine, where water and ion absorption occurs actively in SW eels, exhibited serosa-negative transepithelial potential, while the anterior intestine was serosa-positive. Mucosal application of each guanylin in the middle or posterior intestine reduced the short-circuit current (Isc) dose dependently and reversed it at high doses, and reduced electric tissue resistance. The effects were greater in the middle intestine than in the posterior intestine. All three guanylins showed similar potency in the middle segment, but guanylin was more potent in the posterior segment. 8-bromo cGMP mimicked the effect of guanylins. The intestinal response to guanylin was smaller in FW eels. The mucosal presence of NPPB utilized as a CFTR blocker, but not of other inhibitors of the channels/transporters localized on the luminal surface in SW fish intestine, inhibited the guanylin-induced decrease in Isc. In eels, therefore, the guanylin family may be involved in osmoregulation by the intestine by binding to the receptors and activating CFTR-like channels on the mucosal side through cGMP production, perhaps resulting in Cl− and HCO3− secretion into the lumen.
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