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Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2014 Jul 11;5:111. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2014.00111. eCollection 2014.

Regulation of Energy Homeostasis via GPR120.

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Department of Molecular Medicine and Therapy, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine , Sendai , Japan.
Department of Pharmacogenomics, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University , Kyoto , Japan.


Free fatty acids (FFAs) are fundamental units of key nutrients. FFAs exert various biological functions, depending on the chain length and degree of desaturation. Recent studies have shown that several FFAs act as ligands of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), activate intracellular signaling and exert physiological functions via these GPCRs. GPR120 (also known as free fatty acid receptor 4) is activated by unsaturated medium- to long-chain FFAs and has a critical role in various physiological homeostasis mechanisms such as incretin hormone secretion, food preference, anti-inflammation, and adipogenesis. Recent studies showed that a lipid sensor GPR120 has a key role in sensing dietary fat in white adipose tissue and regulates the whole body energy homeostasis in both humans and rodents. Genetic study in human identified the loss-of-functional mutation of GPR120 associated with obesity and insulin resistance. In addition, dysfunction of GPR120 has been linked as a novel risk factor for diet-induced obesity. This review aims to provide evidence from the recent development in physiological function of GPR120 and discusses its functional roles in the regulation of energy homeostasis and its potential as drug targets.


FFAR4; FFAs; GPR120; diabetes mellitus; metabolic syndrome

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