Oertzenweg 19 b
+49 30 838 62600
Currently, the mechanism(s) responsible for the regulation of urea transporter B (UT-B) expression levels in the epithelium of the rumen remain unclear. We hypothesized that rumen fermentation products affect ruminal UT-B expression. Therefore, the effects of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), pH, ammonia, and urea on mRNA and protein levels of UT-B were assayed in primary rumen epithelial cell cultures and in rumen epithelium obtained from intact goats. In vitro, SCFA and acidic pH were found to synergetically stimulate both mRNA and protein expression of UT-B, whereas NH4Cl decreased mRNA and protein levels of UT-B at pH 6.8. Treatment with urea increased both levels at pH 7.4. When goats received a diet rich in nitrogen (N) and nonfiber carbohydrates (NFC), their rumen epithelium had higher levels of UT-B, and the rumen contained higher concentrations of SCFA and NH3-N with a lower pH. An increase in plasma urea-N concentration was also observed compared with the plasma of the goats that received a diet low in N and NFC. In a second feeding trial, goats that received a NFC-rich, but isonitrogenous, diet had higher mRNA and protein levels of UT-B, and higher levels of G protein-coupled receptor (GPR) 41 and GPR4, in their rumen epithelium. The ruminal concentrations of SCFA and NH3-N also increased, while a lower pH was detected. In contrast, the serum urea-N concentrations remained unchanged. These data indicate that ruminal SCFA and pH are key factors, via GPR4 and GPR41, in the dietary regulation of UT-B expression, and they have priority over changes in plasma urea.