Appetite hormone misfires in obese people

August 20, 2013

Glucagon, a hormone involved in regulating appetite, loses its ability to help obese people feel full after a meal, but it continues to suppress hunger pangs in people with type 1 diabetes, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

The primary role of glucagon, a secreted by the pancreas, is to signal the body to release stored glucose when blood sugar falls too low. But growing evidence suggests the hormone also may play a role in controlling food intake and feelings of fullness, or satiation, through signaling the body to reduce levels of other appetite hormones like ghrelin.

"Once a person becomes obese, glucagon no longer induces feelings of fullness," said the study's lead author, Ayman M. Arafat, MD, of Charité-University Medicine in Berlin, Germany. "Further research is needed to determine why glucagon no longer suppresses appetite effectively in this population, even though they are otherwise healthy."

The prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study investigated glucagon levels and appetite among 11 , 13 people with and 13 lean people. Participants received injections of either glucagon or a placebo. Researchers then measured participants' appetites using a satiety scale as well as levels of the hormone ghrelin.

Feelings of fullness did not differ between obese study participants who received glucagon injections and those who were given the placebo. In comparison, participants who were lean or had type 1 reported feeling significantly more full after receiving glucagon. The response to the hormone was detectable in this population, even 24 hours after it was administered.

"The findings could influence efforts to develop new treatments for obesity and diabetes," Arafat said. "Although therapeutic agents that influence glucagon and other hormones currently are considered a promising avenue for research, this study suggests a treatment involving may be ineffective in controlling meal size in people who are obese."

Explore further: New treatment may lead the way to fighting obesity and diabetes

More information: The article, "The Impact of Insulin-independent Glucagon-induced Suppression of Total-Ghrelin on Satiety in Obesity and Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus," was published online Aug. 20.

Related Stories

New treatment may lead the way to fighting obesity and diabetes

April 25, 2013
Two professors believe they may have a promising lead from which to develop a new treatment for obesity and diabetes.

New findings on glucagon synthesis

December 3, 2012
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have shown that the cells that produce glucagon are stimulated by the hormone itself. A previous study by the same group demonstrated that this principle also applies to insulin. ...

New inflammation hormone link may pave way to study new drugs for Type 2 diabetes

May 15, 2012
A new link between obesity and type 2 diabetes found in mice could open the door to exploring new potential drug treatments for diabetes, University of Michigan Health System research has found.

Early loss of glucagon response to hypoglycemia found in teens

June 22, 2012
(HealthDay) -- In adolescents with type 1 diabetes the glucagon response to hypoglycemia is lost as early as one month and at a median of eight months after diabetes diagnosis, according to a study published online June 14 ...

Targeting glucagon pathway may offer a new approach to treating diabetes

April 12, 2012
Maintaining the right level of sugar in the blood is the responsibility not only of insulin, which removes glucose, but also of a hormone called glucagon, which adds glucose.

Gut hormone leads to weight loss in overweight or obese patients

January 10, 2012
Giving overweight or obese patients a gut hormone that suppresses appetite leads to clinically beneficial weight loss as well as reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels, finds a study published in the British Medical ...

Recommended for you

Study finds 90 percent of American men overfat

July 24, 2017
Does your waist measure more than half your height?

Are sugary drink interventions changing people's behaviour?

July 19, 2017
An evaluation of efforts designed to reduce how many sugary drinks we consume shows some success in changing younger people's habits but warns they cannot be the only way to cut consumption.

Young adult obesity: A neglected, yet essential focus to reverse the obesity epidemic

July 18, 2017
The overall burden of the U.S. obesity epidemic continues to require new thinking. Prevention of obesity in young adults, while largely ignored as a target for prevention and study, will be critical to reversing the epidemic, ...

Weight gain from early to middle adulthood may increase risk of major chronic diseases

July 18, 2017
Cumulative weight gain over the course of early and middle adulthood may increase health risks later in life, according to a new study led by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. They found that, compared ...

Study finds children carry implicit bias towards peers who are overweight

June 23, 2017
Even children as young as 9 years old can carry a prejudice against their peers who are overweight, according to a new study led by Duke Health researchers. They might not even realize they feel this way.

Mother's obesity boosts risk for major birth defects: study

June 15, 2017
Children of obese women are more likely to be afflicted by major birth defects, including malformations of the heart and genitals, according to a study published on Thursday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.