Gut-brain axis: Regulation of glucose metabolism

A. C. Heijboer, H. Pijl, A. M. van den Hoek, L. M. Havekes, J. A. Romijn, E. P.M. Corssmit

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Obesity and type II diabetes mellitus have reached epidemic proportions. From this perspective, knowledge about the regulation of satiety and food intake is more important than ever. The gut releases several peptides upon feeding, which affect hypothalamic pathways involved in the regulation of satiety and metabolism. Within the hypothalamus, there are complex interactions between many nuclei of which the arcuate nucleus is considered as one of the most important hypothalamic centres that regulates food intake. The neuropeptides, which are present in the hypothalamus and are involved in regulating food intake, also play a key role in regulating glucose metabolism and energy expenditure. In synchrony with the effects of those neuropeptides, gastrointestinal hormones also affect glucose metabolism and energy expenditure. In this review, the effects of the gastrointestinal hormones ghrelin, cholecystokinin, peptide YY, glucagon-like peptide, oxyntomodulin and gastric inhibitory polypeptide on glucose and energy metabolism are reviewed. These gut hormones affect glucose metabolism at different levels: by altering food intake and body weight, and thereby insulin sensitivity; by affecting gastric delay and gut motility, and thereby meal-related fluctuations in glucose levels; by affecting insulin secretion, and thereby plasma glucose levels, and by affecting tissue specific insulin sensitivity of glucose metabolism. These observations point to the notion of a major role of the gut-brain axis in the integrative physiology of whole body fuel metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-894
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006

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