Background and Aims: Circulating levels of Ca2+ can influence secretory functions and myoelectrical properties of the stomach. A Ca2+- sensing receptor (CAR) has recently been identified in tissues that regulate systemic Ca2+ homeostasis. The aim of this study was to evaluate expression of CaR in the stomach of the rat. Methods: In forestomach and glandular stomach, reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction was used to amplify a 380-base pair product, which is 99% homologous with transcripts obtained in parathyroid and kidney. Results: Northern analysis of gastric mucosal polyA+ RNA revealed 7.5- and 4.1-kilobase transcripts, similar to those obtained in rat parathyroid and kidney. Immunohistochemistry revealed CaR expression in regions of the submucosal plexus and myenteric neurons. In sections of intact tissue, preparations of primary culture surface cells and surgically dissected gastric glands, staining was observed consistently in epithelial cells of the gastric glands and in gastric surface cells. In parietal cells in isolated gastric glands, intracellular levels of Ca2+ responded to conditions that are known to activate CaR. Conclusions: These are the first reported observations that CaR is expressed in different epithelial cells of mammalian gastric mucosa and its enteric nerve regions. The effects of extracellular Ca2+ on gastric function may be attributable to activation of CaR.
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