Glucagon-like peptide 2: a nutrient-responsive gut growth factor

J Nutr. 2001 Mar;131(3):709-12. doi: 10.1093/jn/131.3.709.


Glucagon-like peptide 2 (GLP-2) is a 33-amino acid peptide derived from the tissue-specific, post-translational processing of the proglucagon gene expressed in the intestinal enteroendocrine L-cell. The primary stimulus for GLP-2 secretion is nutrient intake, and involves direct luminal stimulation of the L-cell as well as indirect enteroendocrine and neural mechanisms. The biological activity of GLP-2 in circulation is regulated by the proteolytic cleavage of the N-terminus by dipeptidylpeptidase IV. Several studies have shown that GLP-2 has specific trophic effects on the small and large intestine, which are mediated by stimulation of cell proliferation and inhibition of apoptosis and proteolysis. GLP-2 also has been shown to suppress gastric motility and acid secretion, increase hexose transport activity and suppress food intake, specifically when infused centrally. The actions of GLP-2 are mediated by a G-protein-linked, membrane receptor (GLP-2R) that is localized largely to the gastrointestinal tract, but also is found in the brain. The secretion of GLP-2 and expression of the GLP-2R are present in the late gestation fetus. However, the developing intestine does not become responsive to the trophic effect of GLP-2 until after birth. Based on its efficacy in preventing atrophy and stimulating growth in the neonatal gut, GLP-2 may be a promising therapeutic adjuvant for treatment of infants with compromised gut function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 2
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides
  • Growth Substances / physiology*
  • Growth Substances / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn / growth & development*
  • Intestinal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestines / growth & development
  • Peptides / physiology*
  • Peptides / therapeutic use


  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 2
  • Growth Substances
  • Peptides
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides