Purpose of review
Food intake is critical for survival and is a complex behavior with multiple levels of control. Short-term, meal-related signals arise from many sources including the gastrointestinal tract, the environment, and higher centers in the brain. As described in this review, inputs from the gastrointestinal tract can exert potent effects on meal initiation, meal termination, and meal frequency. The complex array of signals generated from the gastrointestinal system and from adipose tissue, which participate in the regulation of food intake, and specifically how these signals relate to satiety and hunger, is the focus of this review.
Literature on the role of the well-studied gastrointestinal peptide, cholecystokinin, in satiety, in addition to its interaction with long-term adiposity signals in mediating food intake will be reviewed. In addition, literature on the gastrointestinal hormones glucagon-like-peptide 1, apolipoprotein A-IV and peptide YY, and how they may act to regulate satiety, is described. Finally, the newly discovered hormone, ghrelin, and how it relates to meal initiation and hunger is discussed.
A better understanding of these systems and how they relate to body adiposity will prove to have important clinical applications. The available data suggest that interventions directed at multiple targets in the energy homeostasis system may be necessary to achieve and maintain weight loss.