Single-cell transcriptome analysis reveals secretin as a hallmark of human enteroendocrine cell maturation

Franc Hysenaj, Michael Lauber, Andrea Bast-Habersbrunner, Markus List, Martin Klingenspor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The traditional nomenclature of enteroendocrine cells (EECs), established in 1977, applied the “one cell - one hormone” dogma, which distinguishes subpopulations based on the secretion of a specific hormone. These hormone-specific subpopulations included S cells for secretin (SCT), K cells for glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), N cells producing neurotensin (NTS), I cells producing cholecystokinin (CCK), D cells producing somatostatin (SST), and others. In the past 15 years, reinvestigations into murine and human organoid-derived EECs, however, strongly questioned this dogma and established that certain EECs coexpress multiple hormones. Using the Gut Cell Atlas, the largest available single-cell transcriptome dataset of human intestinal cells, this study consolidates that the original dogma is outdated not only for murine and human organoid-derived EECs, but also for primary human EECs, showing that the expression of certain hormones is not restricted to their designated cell type. Moreover, specific analyses into SCT-expressing cells reject the presence of any cell population that exhibits significantly elevated secretin expression compared to other cell populations, previously referred to as S cells. Instead, this investigation indicates that secretin production is realized jointly by other enteroendocrine subpopulations, validating corresponding observations in murine EECs also for human EECs. Furthermore, our findings corroborate that SCT expression peaks in mature EECs, in contrast, progenitor EECs exhibit markedly lower expression levels, supporting the hypothesis that SCT expression is a hallmark of EEC maturation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13525
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


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