Enteroendocrine cells lining the gut epithelium constitute the largest endocrine organ in the body and secrete over 20 different hormones in response to cues from ingested foods and changes in nutritional status. Not only do these hormones convey signals from the gut to the brain via the gut-brain axis, they also act directly on metabolically important peripheral targets in a highly concerted fashion to maintain energy balance and glucose homeostasis. Gut-derived hormones released during fasting tend to be orexigenic and have hyperglycaemic potential. Conversely, gut hormones secreted postprandially generally promote satiety and facilitate glucose clearance. Although some of the metabolic benefits conferred by bariatric surgeries have been ascribed to changes in the secretory profiles of various gut hormones, the therapeutic potential of the enteroendocrine system as a viable target against metabolic diseases remain largely underexploited, except for incretin-mimetics. This review provides a brief overview of the physiological importance and highlights the therapeutic potential of the following gut hormones: serotonin, glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide, glucagon-like peptide 1, oxyntomodulin, peptide YY, insulin-like peptide 5, and ghrelin.
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- endocrine cells
- gut epithelium