The physiological role of the brain GLP-1 system in stress

Cogent Biol. 2016 Dec 31;2(1):1229086. doi: 10.1080/23312025.2016.1229086. Epub 2016 Sep 14.


Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) within the brain is a potent regulator of food intake and most studies have investigated the anorexic effects of central GLP-1. A range of brain regions have now been found to be involved in GLP-1 mediated anorexia, including some which are not traditionally associated with appetite regulation. However, a change in food intake can be indicative of not only reduced energy demand, but also changes in the organism's motivation to eat following stressful stimuli. In fact, acute stress is well-known to reduce food intake. Recently, more research has focused on the role of GLP-1 in stress and the central GLP-1 system has been found to be activated in response to stressful stimuli. The source of GLP-1 within the brain, the preproglucagon (PPG) neurons, are ideally situated in the brainstem to receive and relay signals of stress and our recent data on the projection pattern of the PPG neurons to the spinal cord suggest a potential strong link with the sympathetic nervous system. We review here the role of central GLP-1 in the regulation of stress responses and discuss the potential involvement of the endogenous source of GLP-1 within the brain, the PPG neurons.

Keywords: food intake; glucagon-like peptide-1; hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis; preproglucagon neurons; stress; sympathetic nervous system.

Publication types

  • Review