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Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2013 Dec;13(6):959-63. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2013.09.003. Epub 2013 Oct 3.

Satiety and the role of μ-opioid receptors in the portal vein.

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Inserm U855, Lyon, France; Université Lyon 1, Villeurbanne, France; Université de Lyon, Lyon, France.


Mu-opioid receptors (MORs) are known to influence food intake at the brain level, through their involvement in the food reward system. MOR agonists stimulate food intake. On the other hand, MOR antagonists suppress food intake. MORs are also active in peripheral organs, especially in the small intestine where they control the gut motility. Recently, an indirect role in the control of food intake was ascribed to MORs in the extrinsic gastrointestinal neural system. MORs present in the neurons of the portal vein walls sense blood peptides released from the digestion of dietary protein. These peptides behave as MOR antagonists. Their MOR antagonist action initiates a gut-brain circuitry resulting in the induction of intestinal gluconeogenesis, a function controlling food intake. Thus, periportal MORs are a key mechanistic link in the satiety effect of protein-enriched diets.

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