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Separation of Conjoined Hormones Yields Appetite Rivals

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Science 11 November 2005:
Vol. 310. no. 5750, pp. 985 - 986
DOI: 10.1126/science.1121214
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Separation of Conjoined Hormones Yields Appetite Rivals
Ruben Nogueiras and Matthias Tschöp*
When we refer to our "gut feelings," not many of us actually visualize how the gastrointestinal tract spills myriads of small peptide hormones into our bloodstream to activate defined circuits of the central nervous system. Nevertheless, that picture does reflect a current scientific concept called the "gutbrain axis." This model consists of a complex network of hormonal and neuronal signaling pathways that is believed to balance numerous homeostatic and behavioral processes (1, 2). In this context, our stomach does not just collect, process, and transport ingested food, but it also represents a multileveled conversational partner of the central nervous system. A key element of this communication process is the hunger-inducing hormone ghrelin, which is believed to convey information about nutrient availability from the stomach to the brain (3, 4).