Role of the gut–brain axis in energy and glucose metabolism

Hallie R. Wachsmuth, Savanna N. Weninger, Frank A. Duca

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The gastrointestinal tract plays a role in the development and treatment of metabolic diseases. During a meal, the gut provides crucial information to the brain regarding incoming nutrients to allow proper maintenance of energy and glucose homeostasis. This gut–brain communication is regulated by various peptides or hormones that are secreted from the gut in response to nutrients; these signaling molecules can enter the circulation and act directly on the brain, or they can act indirectly via paracrine action on local vagal and spinal afferent neurons that innervate the gut. In addition, the enteric nervous system can act as a relay from the gut to the brain. The current review will outline the different gut–brain signaling mechanisms that contribute to metabolic homeostasis, highlighting the recent advances in understanding these complex hormonal and neural pathways. Furthermore, the impact of the gut microbiota on various components of the gut–brain axis that regulates energy and glucose homeostasis will be discussed. A better understanding of the gut–brain axis and its complex relationship with the gut microbiome is crucial for the development of successful pharmacological therapies to combat obesity and diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-392
Number of pages16
JournalExperimental and Molecular Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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