It is becoming evident that nutrients and metabolic intermediates derived from such nutrients regulate cellular function by activating a number of cell-surface G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Until now, members of the GPCR family have largely been considered as the molecular targets that communicate cellular signals initiated by hormones and neurotransmitters. Recently, based on tissue expression patterns of these receptors and the concept that they may elicit the production of a range of appetite- and hunger-regulating peptides, such nutrient sensing GPCRs are attracting considerable attention due to their potential to modulate satiety, improve glucose homeostasis and supress the production of various pro-inflammatory mediators. Despite the developing interests in these nutrients sensing GPCR both as sensors of nutritional status, and targets for limiting the development of metabolic diseases, major challenges remain to exploit their potential for therapeutic purposes. Mostly, this is due to limited characterisation and validation of these receptors because of paucity of selective and high-potency/affinity pharmacological agents to define the detailed function and regulation of these receptors. However, ongoing clinical trials of agonists of free fatty acid receptor 1 suggest that this receptor and other receptors for free fatty acids may provide a successful strategy for controlling hyperglycaemia and providing novel approaches to treat diabetes. Receptors responsive to free fatty acid have been of particular interest, and some aspects of these are considered herein.
British Journal of Nutrition, 2014, Vol 111, Issue Supplement S1