Risk of postprandial insulin resistance: the liver/vagus rapport

Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2014 Mar;15(1):67-77. doi: 10.1007/s11154-013-9281-5.


Ingestion of a meal is the greatest challenge faced by glucose homeostasis. The surge of nutrients has to be disposed quickly, as high concentrations in the bloodstream may have pathophysiological effects, and also properly, as misplaced reserves may induce problems in affected tissues. Thus, loss of the ability to adequately dispose of ingested nutrients can be expected to lead to glucose intolerance, and favor the development of pathologies. Achieving interplay of several organs is of upmost importance to maintain effectively postprandial glucose clearance, with the liver being responsible of orchestrating global glycemic control. This dogmatic role of the liver in postprandial insulin sensitivity is tightly associated with the vagus nerve. Herein, we uncover the behaviour of metabolic pathways determined by hepatic parasympathetic function status, in physiology and in pathophysiology. Likewise, the inquiry expands to address the impact of a modern lifestyle, especially one's feeding habits, on the hepatic parasympathetic nerve control of glucose metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Intolerance / metabolism
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Postprandial Period / physiology*
  • Vagus Nerve / metabolism*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glutathione