Glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1) derived from gut enteroendocrine cells and a discrete population of neurons in the caudal medulla acts through humoral and neural pathways to regulate satiety, gastric motility and pancreatic endocrine function. These physiological attributes contribute to GLP-1 having a potent therapeutic action in glycaemic regulation and chronic weight management. In this review, we provide an overview of the neural circuits targeted by endogenous versus exogenous GLP-1 and related drugs. We also highlight candidate subpopulations of neurons and cellular mechanisms responsible for the acute and chronic effects of GLP-1 and GLP-1 receptor agonists on energy balance and glucose metabolism. Finally, we present potential future directions to translate these findings towards the development of effective therapies for treatment of metabolic disease. LINKED ARTICLES: This article is part of a themed issue on GLP1 receptor ligands (BJP 75th Anniversary). To view the other articles in this section visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.v179.4/issuetoc.
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