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Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2011 Feb;27(2):113-9. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.1160.

Gut-brain signalling: how lipids can trigger the gut.

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Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1L7, Canada.


The gut plays a unique role in the metabolic defence against energy excess and glucose imbalance. Nutrients, such as lipids, enter the small intestine and activate sensing mechanisms to maintain energy and glucose homeostasis. It is clear that a lipid-induced gut-brain axis exists and that cholecystokinin and a neuronal network are involved, yet the underlying mechanisms in gut lipid sensing that regulate homeostasis remain largely unknown. In parallel, studies underscore the importance of enzymes involved in lipid metabolism within the brain, such as adenosine monophosphate -activated protein kinase, to maintain homeostasis. In this review, we will first examine what is known regarding the mechanisms involved in this lipid-induced gut-brain neuronal axis that regulate food intake and hepatic glucose production. We will also discuss how enzymes that govern brain lipid metabolism could potentially reveal how lipids trigger the gut, and that both the gut and brain may share common biochemical pathways to sense lipids.

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