Recently, interest in glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and other peptides derived from preproglucagon has increased significantly. GLP-1 is a 30-amino acid peptide hormone produced in L-type enteroendocrine cells as a response to food intake. GLP-1 is rapidly metabolized and inactivated by the dipeptidyl peptidase IV enzyme before the hormone leaves the intestine, which increases the likelihood that GLP-1 action is transmitted through sensory neurons in the intestine and liver through the GLP-1 receptor. The main actions of GLP-1 are to stimulate insulin secretion (i.e. act as incretin hormone) and inhibit glucagon secretion, thus contributing to the reduction of postprandial glucose spikes. GLP-1 also inhibits motility and gastrointestinal secretion, and therefore acts as part of the „small bowel brake” mechanism. GLP-1 also appears to be a physiological regulator of appetite and food intake. Because of these effects, GLP-1 or GLP-1 receptor agonists are now increasingly used to treat type 2 diabetes. Reduced GLP-1 secretion may contribute to the development of obesity, and excessive secretion may be responsible for postprandial reactive hypoglycemia. The use of GLP-1 agonists opens up new possibilities for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases. In the last two decades, many interesting studies covering both the physiological and pathophysiological role of GLP-1 have been published, and our understanding of GLP-1 has broadened significantly. In this review article, we have tried to describe our current understanding of how GLP-1 works as both a peripheral hormone and as a central neurotransmitter in health and disease. We focused on its biological effects on the body and the potential clinical application in relation to current research.
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