An Inter-Organ Neural Circuit for Appetite Suppression
Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a signal peptide released from enteroendocrine cells of the lower intestine. GLP-1 exerts anorectic and antimotility actions that protect the body against nutrient malabsorption. However, little is known about how intestinal GLP-1 affects distant organs despite rapid enzymatic inactivation. We show that intestinal GLP-1 inhibits gastric emptying and eating via intestinofugal neurons, a subclass of myenteric neurons that project to abdominal sympathetic ganglia. Remarkably, cell-specific ablation of intestinofugal neurons eliminated intestinal GLP-1 effects, and their chemical activation functioned as a GLP-1 mimetic. GLP-1 sensing by intestinofugal neurons then engaged a sympatho-gastro-spinal-reticular-hypothalamic pathway that links abnormal stomach distension to craniofacial programs for food rejection. Within this pathway, cell-specific activation of sparse neuronal populations caused systemic GLP-1-like effects. These molecularly identified, delimited enteric circuits may be targeted to ameliorate the abdominal bloating and loss of appetite typical of gastric motility disorders.