Besides being an important source of fuel and structural components of biological membranes,
free fatty acids (FFAs) are known to display a wide variety of roles that include
modulation of receptor signaling and regulation of gene expression among many. FFAs play a significant
role in maintaining metabolic homeostasis by activating specific G-Protein Coupled Receptors
(GPCRs) in pancreatic β cells, immune cells, white adipose tissue, intestine and several
other tissues. Free Fatty acid receptor 2 (FFAR2) also known as GPR43 belongs to this group of
GPCRs and has been shown to participate in a number of important biological activities. FFAR2 is
activated by short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) such as acetate, propionate and butyrate. SCFAs are formed in the distal
gut by bacterial fermentation of macro-fibrous material that escapes digestion in the upper gastrointestinal tract and
enters the colon and have been shown to play vital role in the immune regulation and metabolic homeostasis. FFAR2
and other free fatty acid receptors are considered key components of the body’s nutrient sensing mechanism and targeting
these receptors is assumed to offer novel therapies for the management of diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
This review aims to summarize the current state of our understanding of FFAR2 biology with a particular focus
on its role in metabolic homeostasis.
Keywords: Free fatty acid receptors, gut microbiota, insulin resistance, metabolic homeostasis, short chain fatty acids, type 2
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