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Nutr Res Rev. 2010 Jun;23(1):135-45. doi: 10.1017/S0954422410000089. Epub 2010 May 19.

Free fatty acid receptor 2 and nutrient sensing: a proposed role for fibre, fermentable carbohydrates and short-chain fatty acids in appetite regulation.

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Department of Investigative Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK.


The way in which the composition of the diet may affect appetite, food intake and body weight is now receiving considerable attention in a bid to halt the global year-on-year rise in obesity prevalence. Epidemiological evidence suggests that populations who follow a fibre-rich, traditional diet are likely to have a lower body weight and improved metabolic parameters than their Western-diet counterparts. The colonic effects of fibre, and more specifically the SCFA that the fermentation process produces, may play a role in maintaining energy homeostasis via their action on the G-coupled protein receptor free fatty acid receptor 2 (FFA2; formerly GPR43). In the present review, we summarise the evidence for and against the role of FFA2 in energy homeostasis circuits and the possible ways that these could be exploited therapeutically. We also propose that the decline in fibre content of the diet since the Industrial Revolution, particularly fermentable fractions, may have resulted in the FFA2-mediated circuits being under-utilised and hence play a role in the current obesity epidemic.

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