Behavioural and neurochemical mechanisms underpinning the feeding-suppressive effect of GLP-1/CCK combinatorial therapy

Mol Metab. 2021 Jan:43:101118. doi: 10.1016/j.molmet.2020.101118. Epub 2020 Nov 19.


Objectives: Combinatorial therapies are under intense investigation to develop more efficient anti-obesity drugs; however, little is known about how they act in the brain to produce enhanced anorexia and weight loss. The goal of this study was to identify the brain sites and neuronal populations engaged during the co-administration of GLP-1R and CCK1R agonists, an efficient combination therapy in obese rodents.

Methods: We measured acute and long-term feeding and body weight responses and neuronal activation patterns throughout the neuraxis and in specific neuronal subsets in response to GLP-1R and CCK1R agonists administered alone or in combination in lean and high-fat diet fed mice. We used PhosphoTRAP to obtain unbiased molecular markers for neuronal populations selectively activated by the combination of the two agonists.

Results: The initial anorectic response to GLP-1R and CCK1R co-agonism was mediated by a reduction in meal size, but over a few hours, a reduction in meal number accounted for the sustained feeding suppressive effects. The nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) is one of the few brain sites where GLP-1R and CCK1R signalling interact to produce enhanced neuronal activation. None of the previously categorised NTS neuronal subpopulations relevant to feeding behaviour were implicated in this increased activation. However, we identified NTS/AP Calcrl+ neurons as treatment targets.

Conclusions: Collectively, these studies indicated that circuit-level integration of GLP-1R and CCK1R co-agonism in discrete brain nuclei including the NTS produces enhanced rapid and sustained appetite suppression and weight loss.

Keywords: CCK; Combinatorial therapy; GLP-1; Hunger; Nucleus of the solitary tract; Obesity; Satiety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology
  • Appetite Regulation
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Feeding Behavior / drug effects
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / pharmacology
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor / drug effects
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cholecystokinin / metabolism*
  • Solitary Nucleus / metabolism
  • Weight Loss / drug effects


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Glp1r protein, mouse
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor
  • Receptors, Cholecystokinin
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1