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Endokrynol Pol. 2010 Mar-Apr;61(2):194-206.

Neuroendocrine body weight regulation: integration between fat tissue, gastrointestinal tract, and the brain.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Endocrine Division (SEMPR), Federal University of ParanĂ¡, Curitiba, Brazil.


Human body weight is maintained at a fairly stable level regardless of changes in energy intake and energy expenditure. Compensatory mechanisms within the central nervous system (CNS), which regulate food intake and energy expenditure, are triggered by other central and peripheral signals. Peripherally, the main sources of those signals are the adipose tissue, gastrointestinal tract, and pancreas. The main signal originating from the adipose tissue is leptin, which promotes the activation of anorexigenic pathways in the CNS. Similarly, the central action of insulin also reduces food intake and stimulates catabolic pathways. The gastrointestinal tract contributes with several peptides that influence food intake, such as ghrelin, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), peptide YY (PYY), oxyntomodulin (OXM), and cholecystokinin (CCK). Other substances secreted by the pancreas, such as pancreatic polypeptide (PP) and amylin, a hormone co-secreted with insulin, also affect energy balance. More recently, the endocannabinoid system has also been identified as a contributor in the maintenance of energy balance. Better understanding of these mechanistic systems involved in the regulation of energy metabolism will hopefully lead to the development of new therapeutic approaches against obesity, metabolic syndrome, and other nutritional disorders.

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