Obesity now represents a modern epidemic in western society with major health and economic consequences. Unfortunately, previous pharmacological approaches to the treatment of obesity have been associated with life-threatening side effects and limited efficacy. Over recent years there has been a marked increase in our understanding of the physiological mechanisms that regulate body weight and how these are perturbed in obesity. One therapeutic strategy is to develop drugs which both mimic and enhance the body;s own satiety signals. The gut hormone peptide tyrosine tyrosine (PYY), which is released postprandially from the gastrointestinal tract, has recently been shown to be a physiological regulator of food intake. Peripheral administration of PYY reduces feeding in rodents via a mechanism which requires the Y2 receptor and is thought to primarily involve modulation of the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC) circuitry. In humans a single 90-minute infusion of PYY has been shown to markedly reduce subsequent 24-hour caloric intake in lean, normal-weight and obese subjects. Moreover, obese subjects have been found to have low levels of fasting and postprandial PYY suggesting a role for this hormone in the pathogenesis of obesity. Although studies examining the effects of chronic peripheral administration of PYY to humans are awaited, the results from continuous infusion studies in a number of obese rodent models are encouraging with reductions in food intake, body weight and adiposity observed. Potential therapeutic manipulations based on the PYY system include development of Y2 agonists, exogenously administration of PYY or increased endogenous release from the gastrointestinal tract.
Keywords: pyy3-36, pyy1-36, dpp-IV, y2 receptors, hypothalamus, appetite regulation, obesity
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