Peptide YY (PYY) is a peptide hormone secreted from L cells in the intestine after food intake and regulates appetite and intestinal function. PYY is also expressed in the pancreas, but the mechanisms of regulation of pancreatic PYY expression have not been elucidated. The vitamin D receptor (VDR) is a nuclear receptor for the active form of vitamin D3 and regulates numerous physiological processes. Because VDR is expressed in the pancreas, we investigated the role of pancreatic VDR activation and found that Pyy is a VDR target gene in the mouse pancreas. Treatment of mice with 1α- hydroxyvitamin D3 increased plasma PYY levels. VDR activation increased mRNA and protein expression of PYY in the pancreatic islets of mice and pancreatic endocrine cell lines but did not change intestinal PYY expression. 1α-Hydroxyvitamin D3-dependent induction of pancreatic and plasma PYY was abolished in VDR-null mice. We identified a functional vitamin D-responsive element in the mouse Pyy promoter using chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, EMSA, and luciferase promoter assay. Thus, Pyy is a tissue-specific VDR target gene. The pancreatic VDR-PYY pathway may mediate a regulatory function of vitamin D in the neuroendocrine system.
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