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Regulation of food intake by gastrointestinal hormones

Baynes, Kevin CR; Dhillo, Waljit S; Bloom, Stephen R

Current Opinion in Gastroenterology: November 2006 - Volume 22 - Issue 6 - p 626–631
doi: 10.1097/01.mog.0000245537.43142.63
Stomach and duodenum

Purpose of review Complex physiological mechanisms have evolved to control food intake in mammals, which in health ensure the relative stability of body weight in adults. Central brain centres, gut-derived peptides and adipose-derived signals result in an integrative response to defend against starvation. Enteroendocrine cells throughout the gut and pancreas secrete a number of peptides with activity on gut motility, gut secretions and appetite. Understanding the interactions between different gut peptides has produced a rewardingly active research field with many unanswered questions.

Recent findings Many gut peptides are now in translational research programmes to investigate their potential in human physiology and disease. Ghrelin has been shown in short-term human studies to both increase appetite and body weight. Oxyntomodulin has been shown to reduce weight and food intake in a 4 week study in humans. Anorectic activity of peptide YY3-36 has been confirmed in a number of animal models. Obestatin has been identified as a novel gut peptide. Increasing evidence points to the effect of gastric-bypass surgery on body weight, including alteration of gut peptide activity.

Summary Gut peptides, or gut-peptide mimetics, show great promise for use as therapeutic agents for the treatment of obesity and cachexia.

Department of Metabolic Medicine, Hammersmith Campus, Imperial College London, UK

Correspondence to Professor Stephen Bloom, Department of Metabolic Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College London, 6th Floor Commonwealth Building, Du Cane Road, London W12 0NN, UK Tel: +020 8383 3242; fax: +020 8383 1963; e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.