Crosstalk between gastrointestinal neurons and the brain in the control of food intake

Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Oct;28(5):739-44. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2014.03.004. Epub 2014 Apr 4.


Recent data have emphasized that the gastrointestinal nervous system is preponderant in the sensing of nutrients and hormones and its translation in terms of control of food intake by the central nervous system. More specifically, the gastrointestinal neural system participates in the control of hunger via the sensing of at least two major macronutrients, e.g. glucose and protein, which may control hunger sensations from the portal vein. Protein are first sensed by mu-opioid receptors present in the portal vein walls to induce intestinal gluconeogenesis-via a reflex arc and next portal glucose sensing. The gastrointestinal nervous system may also account for the rapid benefits of gastric bypass surgeries on energy homeostasis (hunger and body weight) and glucose homeostasis (insulin sensitivity). This knowledge provides novel mechanisms of control of body weight, which might be useful to envision future approaches of prevention or treatment of obesity.

Keywords: food intake; gastric bypass surgery; gastrointestinal neurons; hypothalamus; intestinal gluconeogenesis; mu-opioid receptor; obesity; portal glucose sensing; protein-induced satiety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism*
  • Gluconeogenesis / physiology
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Obesity / metabolism


  • Glucose