The modulatory role of high fat feeding on gastrointestinal signals in obesity

J Nutr Biochem. 2013 Oct;24(10):1663-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2013.05.005.


The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a specialized sensory system that detects and responds to constant changes in nutrient- and bacterial-derived intestinal signals, thus contributing to controls of food intake. Chronic exposure to dietary fat causes morphological, physiological and metabolic changes leading to disruptions in the regulatory feeding pathways promoting more efficient fat absorption and utilization, blunted satiation signals and excess adiposity. Accumulating evidence demonstrates that impaired gastrointestinal signals following long-term high fat consumption are, at least partially, responsible for increased caloric intake. This review focuses on the role of dietary fat in modulating oral and post-oral chemosensory signaling elements responsible for lipid detection and responses, including changes in sensitivity to satiation signals, such as GLP-1, PYY and CCK and their impact on food intake and weight gain. Furthermore, the influence of the gut microbiota on mechanisms controlling energy regulation in the face of excessive fat exposure will be explored. The profound influence of dietary fats on altering complex regulatory feeding pathways can result in dysregulation of body weight and development of obesity, while restoration or manipulation of satiation signaling may prove an effective tool in prevention and treatment of obesity.

Keywords: Diet adaptation; GPR; Gut peptides; Microbiota; Satiation; Taste.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Animals
  • CD36 Antigens / physiology
  • Cholecystokinin / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology*
  • Ghrelin / physiology
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / drug effects
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption / drug effects
  • Microbiota / physiology
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Peptide YY / drug effects
  • Peptide YY / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / physiology
  • Satiation / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Taste / physiology
  • Weight Gain


  • CD36 Antigens
  • Dietary Fats
  • FFAR1 protein, human
  • FFAR4 protein, human
  • Ghrelin
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Peptide YY
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Cholecystokinin