The rising global rates of type 2 diabetes and obesity present a significant economic and social burden, underscoring the importance for effective and safe therapeutic options. The success of glucagon-like-peptide-1 receptor agonists in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, along with the potent glucose-lowering effects of bariatric surgery, highlight the gastrointestinal tract as a potential target for diabetes treatment. Furthermore, recent evidence suggests that the gut plays a prominent role in the ability of metformin to lower glucose levels. As such, the current review highlights some of the current and potential pathways in the gut that could be targeted to improve glucose homeostasis, such as changes in nutrient sensing, gut peptides, gut microbiota and bile acids. A better understanding of these pathways will lay the groundwork for novel gut-targeted antidiabetic therapies, some of which have already shown initial promise.
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Paige V Bauer and Frank A Duca
Rachel Katherine Meyer and Frank A Duca
The gastrointestinal system is now considered the largest endocrine organ, highlighting the importance of gut-derived peptides and metabolites in metabolic homeostasis. Gut peptides are secreted from intestinal enteroendocrine cells in response to nutrients, microbial metabolites, and neural and hormonal factors, and regulate systemic metabolism via multiple mechanisms. While extensive research is focused on the neuroendocrine effects of gut peptides, evidence suggests that several of these hormones act as endocrine signaling molecules with direct effects at the target organ, especially in a therapeutic setting. Additionally, the gut microbiota metabolizes ingested nutrients and fiber to produce compounds that impact host metabolism indirectly, through gut peptide secretion, and directly, acting as endocrine factors. This review will provide an overview of the role of endogenous gut peptides in metabolic homeostasis and disease, as well as the potential endocrine impact of microbial metabolites on host metabolic tissue function.