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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.