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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Nov;301(5):R1479-85. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00356.2011. Epub 2011 Aug 17.

The common hepatic branch of the vagus is not required to mediate the glycemic and food intake suppressive effects of glucagon-like-peptide-1.

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  • 1Translational Neuroscience Program, Dept. of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine at the Univ. of Pennsylvania, TRL Bldg., Office 2219, 125 South 31st St., Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The incretin and food intake suppressive effects of intraperitoneally administered glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) involve activation of GLP-1 receptors (GLP-1R) expressed on vagal afferent fiber terminals. Central nervous system processing of GLP-1R-driven vagal afferents results in satiation signaling and enhanced insulin secretion from pancreatic-projecting vagal efferents. As the vast majority of endogenous GLP-1 is released from intestinal l-cells following ingestion, it stands to reason that paracrine GLP-1 signaling, activating adjacent GLP-1R expressed on vagal afferent fibers of gastrointestinal origin, contributes to glycemic and food intake control. However, systemic GLP-1R-mediated control of glycemia is currently attributed to endocrine action involving GLP-1R expressed in the hepatoportal bed on terminals of the common hepatic branch of the vagus (CHB). Here, we examine the hypothesis that activation of GLP-1R expressed on the CHB is not required for GLP-1's glycemic and intake suppressive effects, but rather paracrine signaling on non-CHB vagal afferents is required to mediate GLP-1's effects. Selective CHB ablation (CHBX), complete subdiaphragmatic vagal deafferentation (SDA), and surgical control rats received an oral glucose tolerance test (2.0 g glucose/kg) 10 min after an intraperitoneal injection of the GLP-1R antagonist, exendin-(9-39) (Ex-9; 0.5 mg/kg) or vehicle. CHBX and control rats showed comparable increases in blood glucose following blockade of GLP-1R by Ex-9, whereas SDA rats failed to show a GLP-1R-mediated incretin response. Furthermore, GLP-1(7-36) (0.5 mg/kg ip) produced a comparable suppression of 1-h 25% glucose intake in both CHBX and control rats, whereas intake suppression in SDA rats was blunted. These findings support the hypothesis that systemic GLP-1R mediation of glycemic control and food intake suppression involves paracrine-like signaling on GLP-1R expressed on vagal afferent fibers of gastrointestinal origin but does not require the CHB.

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