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Eur J Pharmacol. 2002 Apr 12;440(2-3):159-72.

Ups and downs for neuropeptides in body weight homeostasis: pharmacological potential of cocaine amphetamine regulated transcript and pre-proglucagon-derived peptides.

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Laboratory of Obesity Research, Center for Clinical and Basic Research, Ballerup Byvej 222, 2750, Denmark.


Although most humans experience an underlying upwards drift of the body-weight set-point, body weight appears tightly regulated throughout life. The present review describes the structural basis of the adipostat and hypothesise, which components may constitute available targets for pharmacotherapy of excess body weight. Hypothalamic neurones constitute the major components of the body weight homeostasis maintaining device. Together with neurones of the nucleus of the solitary tract, neurones of the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus constitute the sensory components of the adipostat. The arcuate nucleus neurones respond to circulating levels of leptin and insulin, both of which reflect the levels of energy stored as triacylglycerol in adipocytes. The arcuate nucleus projects heavily to the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus. Neurones of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus are hypothesised to constitute, at least partly, the adipostat motor pattern generator, which upon stimulation activates either net anabolic or catabolic physiological responses. The overall sensitivity of the adipostat is influenced by gain setting neurones hypothesised to be located in the dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus and lateral hypothalamic area. Cocaine amphetamine regulated transcript (CART) peptides and pre-proglucagon derived peptides, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) are catabolic neurotransmitters synthesised in neurones of the arcuate nucleus and the nucleus of the solitary tract, respectively. The present review summarises the available evidence that both families of peptides constitute endogenous transmitters mediating satiety and touch upon potential pharmacological exploitation of this knowledge.

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