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Invited review: nutrient-sensing receptors for free fatty acids and hydroxycarboxylic acids in farm animals

  • M. Mielenz (a1)


Data on nutrient sensing by free fatty acid receptors (FFAR1, FFAR2, FFAR3, FFAR4) and hydroxycarboxylic acid receptors (HCAR1, HCAR2) are increasing for human or rodent models. Both receptor families link intestinal fermentation by the microbiota and energy metabolism with cellular responses. Therefore, this finding provides a link that is independent of the only function of the fermentation products as energy substrates. For example, these reactions are associated with insulin secretion, regulation of lipolysis, adipose tissue differentiation and innate immune responses. In farm animals, the available data on both receptor families from the intestine and other tissues increase. However, currently, the data are primarily linked with the distribution of receptor messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and more rarely with proteins. Functional data on the importance of these receptors in farm animal species is not abundant and is often associated with the immune system. In certain farm animal species, the receptors were cloned and ligand binding was characterised. In chicken, only one FFAR2 was recently identified using genome analysis, which is contradictory to a study using an FFAR1 small interfering RNA. The chicken FFAR2 is composed of more than 20 paralogs. No data on HCAR1 or HCAR2 exist in this species. Currently, in pigs, most available data are on the mRNA distribution within intestine. However, no FFAR1 expression has been shown in this organ to date. In addition to FFAR2, an orthologue (FFAR2-like) with the highest abundance in intestine has been reported. The data on HCAR1 and HCAR2 in pigs is scarce. In ruminants, most of the currently available information on receptor distribution is linked to mRNA data and shows the expression, for example, in mammary gland and adipose tissue. However, some protein data on FFAR2 and FFAR1 protein has been reported and functional data availability is slowly increasing. The receptor mRNAs of HCAR1 and HCAR2 are expressed in bovine. The HCAR2 protein has been demonstrated in certain tissues, such as liver and fat. Because of the physiological importance of both receptor families in human life science, more studies that analyse the physiological significance of both receptor families in animal science may be performed within the next several years.


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References dated before 2013 are presented as Supplementary Materials.
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