Glucagon has long been known as a counter-regulatory hormone to insulin of fundamental importance to glucose homeostasis. Its prominent ability to stimulate glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis, has historically cast this peptide as one hormone where the metabolic consequences of increasing blood glucose levels, especially in obesity, are viewed largely as being deleterious. This perspective may be changing in light of emerging data and reconsideration of historic studies, which suggest that glucagon has beneficial effects on body fat mass, food intake, and energy expenditure. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms of glucagon-mediated body weight regulation as well as possible novel therapeutic approaches in the treatment of obesity and glucose intolerance that may arise from these findings. The paper represents an invited review by a symposium, award winner or keynote speaker at the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior [SSIB] Annual Meeting in Portland, July 2009.
Published by Elsevier Inc.