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Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 73, Issue 4, pp 737–755 | Cite as

Regulation of energy balance by a gut–brain axis and involvement of the gut microbiota

  • Paige V. Bauer
  • Sophie C. Hamr
  • Frank A. Duca
Review

Abstract

Despite significant progress in understanding the homeostatic regulation of energy balance, successful therapeutic options for curbing obesity remain elusive. One potential target for the treatment of obesity is via manipulation of the gut–brain axis, a complex bidirectional communication system that is crucial in maintaining energy homeostasis. Indeed, ingested nutrients induce secretion of gut peptides that act either via paracrine signaling through vagal and non-vagal neuronal relays, or in an endocrine fashion via entry into circulation, to ultimately signal to the central nervous system where appropriate responses are generated. We review here the current hypotheses of nutrient sensing mechanisms of enteroendocrine cells, including the release of gut peptides, mainly cholecystokinin, glucagon-like peptide-1, and peptide YY, and subsequent gut-to-brain signaling pathways promoting a reduction of food intake and an increase in energy expenditure. Furthermore, this review highlights recent research suggesting this energy regulating gut–brain axis can be influenced by gut microbiota, potentially contributing to the development of obesity.

Keywords

CCK GLP-1 PYY Small intestine Satiety Satiation Short-chain fatty acid Gut microbiome 

Abbreviations

AgRP

Agouti-related protein

AEA

Anadamide

ARC

Arcuate nucleus

BAT

Brown adipose tissue

BDNF

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor

CB1

Cannabinoid receptor 1

CCK

Cholecystokinin

CCK-1R

CCK-1 receptor

CNS

Central nervous system

DVC

Dorsal vagal complex

ENS

Enteric nervous system

EEC

Enteroendocrine cell

GI

Gastrointestinal

GF

Germ free

GLP-1

Glucagon-like peptide 1

GLP-1R

GLP-1 receptor

GPR

G-coupled protein receptor

IP

Intraperitoneal

KO

Knockout

LPS

Lipopolysaccharide

NPY

Neuropeptide Y

NTS

Nucleus tractus solitarius

OTU

Operational taxonomic unit

OXM

Oxyntomodulin

PVN

Paraventricular nucleus

PYY

Peptide YY

TLR

Toll-like receptor

Y2R

Y2 receptor

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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paige V. Bauer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sophie C. Hamr
    • 1
    • 2
  • Frank A. Duca
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of MedicineToronto General Research Institute, UHNTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.MaRS Centre, Toronto Medical Discovery TowerTorontoCanada

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