Glucagon-like peptide 1 in the pathophysiology and pharmacotherapy of clinical obesity

World J Diabetes. 2016 Dec 15;7(20):572-598. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v7.i20.572.


Though the pathophysiology of clinical obesity is undoubtedly multifaceted, several lines of clinical evidence implicate an important functional role for glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) signalling. Clinical studies assessing GLP-1 responses in normal weight and obese subjects suggest that weight gain may induce functional deficits in GLP-1 signalling that facilitates maintenance of the obesity phenotype. In addition, genetic studies implicate a possible role for altered GLP-1 signalling as a risk factor towards the development of obesity. As reductions in functional GLP-1 signalling seem to play a role in clinical obesity, the pharmacological replenishment seems a promising target for the medical management of obesity in clinical practice. GLP-1 analogue liraglutide at a high dose (3 mg/d) has shown promising results in achieving and maintaining greater weight loss in obese individuals compared to placebo control, and currently licensed anti-obesity medications. Generally well tolerated, provided that longer-term data in clinical practice supports the currently available evidence of superior short- and long-term weight loss efficacy, GLP-1 analogues provide promise towards achieving the successful, sustainable medical management of obesity that remains as yet, an unmet clinical need.

Keywords: Clinical obesity; Glucagon-like peptide 1; Glucagon-like peptide 1 analogues; Obesity pathophysiology.

Publication types

  • Review