Impact of gut and metabolic hormones on feeding reward

Anica Klockars, Allen S. Levine, Mitchell A. Head, Claudio E. Perez-Leighton, Catherine M. Kotz, Pawel K. Olszewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Ingestion of food activates a cascade of endocrine responses (thereby reflecting a contemporaneous feeding status) that include the release of hormones from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, such as cholecystokinin (CCK), glucagonlike peptide YY (PYY), peptide PP, and oleoylethanolamide, as well as suppression of ghrelin secretion. The pancreas and adipose tissue, on the other hand, release hormones that serve as a measure of the current metabolic state or the long-term energy stores, that is, insulin, leptin, and adiponectin. It is well known and intuitively understandable that these hormones target either directly (by crossing the blood-brain barrier) or indirectly (e.g., via vagal input) the "homeostatic" brainstem-hypothalamic pathways involved in the regulation of appetite. The current article focuses on yet another target of the metabolic and GI hormones that is critical in inducing changes in food intake, namely, the reward system. We discuss the physiological basis of this functional interaction, its importance in the control of appetite, and the impact that disruption of this crosstalk has on energy intake in select physiological and pathophysiological states. We conclude that metabolic and GI hormones have a capacity to strengthen or weaken a response of the reward system to a given food, and thus, they are fundamental in ensuring that feeding reward is plastic and dependent on the energy status of the organism. © 2021 American Physiological Society. Compr Physiol 11:1425-1447, 2021.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1425-1447
Number of pages23
JournalComprehensive Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has been supported by the Royal Society of New Zealand and Dairy Goat Coop. (NZ), Ltd., Hamilton, New Zealand.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Physiological Society.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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