Gastrointestinal targets of appetite regulation in humans

Obes Rev. 2010 Mar;11(3):234-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2009.00707.x.


The aim of this paper is to describe and discuss relevant aspects of the assessment of physiological functions - and related biomarkers - implicated in the regulation of appetite in humans. A short introduction provides the background and the present state of biomarker research as related to satiety and appetite. The main focus of the paper is on the gastrointestinal tract and its functions and biomarkers related to appetite for which sufficient data are available in human studies. The first section describes how gastric emptying, stomach distension and gut motility influence appetite; the second part describes how selected gastrointestinal peptides are involved in the control of satiety and appetite (ghrelin, cholecystokinin, glucagon-like peptide, peptide tyrosin-tyrosin) and can be used as potential biomarkers. For both sections, methodological aspects (adequacy, accuracy and limitation of the methods) are described. The last section focuses on new developments in techniques and methods for the assessment of physiological targets involved in appetite regulation (including brain imaging, interesting new experimental approaches, targets and markers). The conclusion estimates the relevance of selected biomarkers as representative markers of appetite regulation, in view of the current state of the art.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Appetite Regulation / physiology*
  • Biomarkers
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Peptide Hormones / metabolism*


  • Biomarkers
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones
  • Peptide Hormones