Central glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor activation inhibits Toll-like receptor agonist-induced inflammation

Chi Kin Wong, Brent A. McLean, Laurie L. Baggio, Jacqueline A. Koehler, Rola Hammoud, Nikolaj Rittig, Julian M. Yabut, Randy J. Seeley, Theodore J. Brown, Daniel J. Drucker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) exert anti-inflammatory effects relevant to the chronic complications of type 2 diabetes. Although GLP-1RAs attenuate T cell-mediated gut and systemic inflammation directly through the gut intraepithelial lymphocyte GLP-1R, how GLP-1RAs inhibit systemic inflammation in the absence of widespread immune expression of the GLP-1R remains uncertain. Here, we show that GLP-1R activation attenuates the induction of plasma tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) by multiple Toll-like receptor agonists. These actions are not mediated by hematopoietic or endothelial GLP-1Rs but require central neuronal GLP-1Rs. In a cecal slurry model of polymicrobial sepsis, GLP-1RAs similarly require neuronal GLP-1Rs to attenuate detrimental responses associated with sepsis, including sickness, hypothermia, systemic inflammation, and lung injury. Mechanistically, GLP-1R activation leads to reduced TNF-α via α1-adrenergic, δ-opioid, and κ-opioid receptor signaling. These data extend emerging concepts of brain-immune networks and posit a new gut-brain GLP-1R axis for suppression of peripheral inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCell Metabolism
Pages (from-to)130-143.e5
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2024


  • autonomic nervous system
  • diabetes
  • G protein-coupled receptor
  • glucagon-like peptides
  • gut-brain axis
  • immune
  • inflammation
  • obesity


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