Hokkaido University Research Profiles

Life Sciences

Elucidation of Nutrient Sensing Mechanisms in the Digestive Tract

Regulation of blood glucose by food peptides through their effects on the enteroendocrine system

Hormones secreted by endocrine cells that sense nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract regulate various physiological responses immediately after eating. In the course of studying this mechanism, we found through animal studies that food peptides can promote the secretion of the gastrointestinal hormone GLP-1 and reduce the elevation of plasma glucose levels.

Content of research

Various gastrointestinal hormones released by enteroendocrine cells that sense nutrients in the digestive tract, play an important role in regulating various physiological responses after meals. We have focused on the gastrointestinal hormone GLP-1, which is known as an anti-diabetic hormone, and found a food peptide (derived from corn) that strongly promotes the secretion of GLP-1. By orally administering this peptide to rats, we found that GLP-1 secretion was promoted and plasma glucose elevation was suppressed. Our research is aimed to elucidate how this peptide is recognized by enteroendocrine cells, and to control postprandial plasma glucose levels and appetite by controlling the secretion of gastrointestinal hormones with various food components.

Potential for social implementation

  • ・Functional food development
  • ・Drug discovery

Appealing points to industry and local governments

It is considered possible to apply food ingredients that are hardly absorbed or unnecessary to be absorbed to the prevention of obesity and diabetes. We aim to contribute to the maintenance of human health by controlling the enteroendocrine system with orally ingested food or drugs by studying which structures of food peptides are recognized and by searching new nutrient receptors.

Intellectual property related to this research

特許第5794678号 「グルカゴン様ペプチド−1分泌促進剤」