Nutrient Sensors Regulating Peptides

  • Isin Cakir
  • Eduardo A. NillniEmail author


The hypothalamus is an important center for coordinating mammalian physiology and maintenance of homeostasis. Accordingly, the hypothalamus regulates feeding, body temperature, energy expenditure, glucose metabolism, thirst, blood pressure, reproductive axis, and other metabolic functions associated with the overall metabolism. At the central level, the hypothalamus is the primary component of the nervous system in interpreting adiposity and nutrient-related inputs; it delivers hormonal and behavioral responses with the ultimate purpose of regulating body weight, food intake, and energy consumption (Williams et al. 2001; Wardlaw 2011; Toorie and Nillni 2014). Among the hormonal inputs that feed into the hypothalamic circuitries are adipose tissue-derived hormone leptin and adiponectin, pancreatic hormone insulin, and several hormones secreted by the gastrointestinal tract, such as ghrelin. The activity of the hypothalamic feeding centers is also responsive to basic nutrients including glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids besides other metabolites, such as ketone bodies. Much like the hypothalamus acting at the organismal level to regulate homeostasis by integrating such hormonal and nutritional signals, there are evolutionarily conserved proteins and protein complexes that act at the cellular level as “nutrient sensors” that couple cellular energetics to downstream pathways to regulate various cellular functions. The activity of these nutrient sensors in key hypothalamic feeding centers plays a major role in the regulation of energy balance and glucose metabolism.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Life Sciences Institute and Department of Molecular and Integrative PhysiologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Biochemistry, Department of Medicine, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & BiochemistryThe Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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