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Int J Obes (Lond). 2015 Dec;39(12):1679-88. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2015.142. Epub 2015 Jul 31.

Gut fat signaling and appetite control with special emphasis on the effect of thylakoids from spinach on eating behavior.

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School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.
Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.
Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.


The metabolic controls of eating are embedded in a neural system that permits an interaction with the environment. The result is an integrated adaptive response that coordinates the internal milieu with the prevailing environment. Securing adequate amounts of fat and optimizing its storage and use has an evolutionary basis. By generating neuronal and endocrine feedback signals, behavior and metabolism could then adapt to fluctuations in food availability. However, in modern society, foods that appeal to the palate are neither in shortage nor are they difficult to procure. These foods can activate brain reward circuitry beyond their evolved 'survival advantage' limits. Many foods high in fat invoke an undeniably pleasurable sensation and could excessively stimulate the brain's reward pathways leading to overeating. However, the high appeal and potential for being eaten in excess notwithstanding, fat has the added distinction of inducing powerful signals in the gut that are transduced to the brain and result in the regulation of appetite. Fatty acids are sensed by G-protein-coupled receptors on enteroendocrine cells which trigger the release of peptides involved in appetite regulation. Lipid sensing may also occur through the fatty acid translocase, CD-36, on enterocytes. Additionally, fat can activate dopaminergic systems affecting reward, to promote an inhibition over eating. Prolonging the presence of fats in the gastrointestinal lumen permits the activation of signaling mechanisms. Thylakoids, found within the chloroplasts of plants, are flattened disc-like membranous vesicles in which the light-dependent reactions of photosynthesis occur. By interacting with lipids and delaying fat digestion, thylakoid membranes promote the release of peptides involved in appetite regulation and may influence the reward system. This review explores gut lipid sensing and signaling in the context of appetite regulation. The effects of thylakoid membranes on eating behavior are also reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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