Can gut hormones control appetite and prevent obesity?

Diabetes Care. 2008 Feb:31 Suppl 2:S284-9. doi: 10.2337/dc08-s269.


The current obesity epidemic is fuelled by the availability of highly palatable, calorie-dense food, and the low requirement for physical activity in our modern environment. If energy intake exceeds energy use, the excess calories are stored as body fat. Although the body has mechanisms that act to maintain body weight over time, they primarily defend against starvation and are less robust in preventing the development of obesity. Knowledge of this homeostatic system that controls body weight has increased exponentially over the last decade and has revealed new possibilities for the treatment of obesity and its associated comorbidities. One therapeutic target is the development of agents based on the gastrointestinal hormones that control appetite. This review discusses the hormones oxyntomodulin, peptide YY, glucagon-like peptide 1, pancreatic polypeptide, and ghrelin and their emerging potential as anti-obesity treatments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Appetite Depressants / therapeutic use*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Diet
  • Energy Intake
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiopathology
  • Ghrelin / therapeutic use
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*


  • Appetite Depressants
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones
  • Ghrelin
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1