Cover Story Current Issue

Obesity represents a complex medical and behavioural problem which is insufficiently managed by current treatment interventions. Over the past decades, it has become increasing clear that the brain plays a fundamental role in regulating energy balance and body weight homeostasis. Central control of eating and energy balance is determined by a rich interplay of humoral, neuronal and molecular mechanisms.

Henrik H. Hansen, Johanna Perens, Urmas Roostalu, Jacob Lercke Skytte, ... Jacob Hecksher-Sørensen

Full text

 

Current Issue

The gut–brain axis: Identifying new therapeutic approaches for type 2 diabetes, obesity, and related disorders

Paul Richards, Nancy A. Thornberry, Shirly Pinto

ackground

The gut-brain axis, which mediates bidirectional communication between the gastrointestinal system and central nervous system (CNS), plays a fundamental role in multiple areas of physiology including regulating appetite, metabolism, and gastrointestinal function. The biology of the gut-brain axis is central to the efficacy of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1)-based therapies, which are now leading treatments for type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and obesity. This success and research to suggest a much broader role of gut-brain circuits in physiology and disease has led to increasing interest in targeting such circuits to discover new therapeutics. However, our current knowledge of this biology is limited, largely because the scientific tools have not been available to enable a detailed mechanistic understanding of gut-brain communication.

Scope of review

In this review, we provide an overview of the current understanding of how sensory information from the gastrointestinal system is communicated to the central nervous system, with an emphasis on circuits involved in regulating feeding and metabolism. We then describe how recent technologies are enabling a better understanding of this system at a molecular level and how this information is leading to novel insights into gut-brain communication. We also discuss current therapeutic approaches that leverage the gut-brain axis to treat diabetes, obesity, and related disorders and describe potential novel approaches that have been enabled by recent advances in the field.

Major conclusions

The gut-brain axis is intimately involved in regulating glucose homeostasis and appetite, and this system plays a key role in mediating the efficacy of therapeutics that have had a major impact on treating T2DM and obesity. Research into the gut-brain axis has historically largely focused on studying individual components in this system, but new technologies are now enabling a better understanding of how signals from these components are orchestrated to regulate metabolism. While this work reveals a complexity of signaling even greater than previously appreciated, new insights are already being leveraged to explore fundamentally new approaches to treating metabolic diseases.

The gut–brain axis: Identifying new therapeutic approaches for type 2 diabetes, obesity, and related disorders

Paul Richards, Nancy A. Thornberry, Shirly Pinto

ackground

The gut-brain axis, which mediates bidirectional communication between the gastrointestinal system and central nervous system (CNS), plays a fundamental role in multiple areas of physiology including regulating appetite, metabolism, and gastrointestinal function. The biology of the gut-brain axis is central to the efficacy of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1)-based therapies, which are now leading treatments for type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and obesity. This success and research to suggest a much broader role of gut-brain circuits in physiology and disease has led to increasing interest in targeting such circuits to discover new therapeutics. However, our current knowledge of this biology is limited, largely because the scientific tools have not been available to enable a detailed mechanistic understanding of gut-brain communication.

Scope of review

In this review, we provide an overview of the current understanding of how sensory information from the gastrointestinal system is communicated to the central nervous system, with an emphasis on circuits involved in regulating feeding and metabolism. We then describe how recent technologies are enabling a better understanding of this system at a molecular level and how this information is leading to novel insights into gut-brain communication. We also discuss current therapeutic approaches that leverage the gut-brain axis to treat diabetes, obesity, and related disorders and describe potential novel approaches that have been enabled by recent advances in the field.

Major conclusions

The gut-brain axis is intimately involved in regulating glucose homeostasis and appetite, and this system plays a key role in mediating the efficacy of therapeutics that have had a major impact on treating T2DM and obesity. Research into the gut-brain axis has historically largely focused on studying individual components in this system, but new technologies are now enabling a better understanding of how signals from these components are orchestrated to regulate metabolism. While this work reveals a complexity of signaling even greater than previously appreciated, new insights are already being leveraged to explore fundamentally new approaches to treating metabolic diseases.

The 60 Second Metabolist

In this section authors briefly report on their work recently published in Molecular Metabolism.

Watch the most recent interviews by clicking the video still. 

Here is a video of Vimeo. When the iframes is activated, a connection to Vimeo is established and, if necessary, cookies from Vimeo are also used. For further information on cookies policy click here.

Here is a video of Vimeo. When the iframes is activated, a connection to Vimeo is established and, if necessary, cookies from Vimeo are also used. For further information on cookies policy click here.

The 8th Helmholtz Diabetes Conference

The 8th Helmholtz Diabetes Conference will take place virtually from May 10th-12th. This year, the conference will focus on the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms involved in the development of diabetes.

For more information and to register, click here.