Chinese researchers have identified a new gut-secreted hormone named famsin, which contributes to metabolic adaptations during fasting.
The intestines are responsible for nutrient absorption and orchestrate metabolism in different organs during feeding, and intestine-secreted hormones partly control the process. But it is unclear whether the intestines play a role in metabolism during fasting.
In the study published in Cell Research, researchers from Tsinghua University and Zhejiang Chinese Medical University named the newly-identified hormone famsin, meaning famine-survival hormone. During fasting, it is first shed from a protein called Gm11437 and then binds to an olfactory receptor named OLFR796. The famsin-OLFR796 binding promotes the generation of glucose from certain non-carbohydrates and ketone bodies by breaking down fats and conserving energy during fasting.
Meanwhile, blocking the signaling of the famsin-OLFR796 binding improves the blood glucose level in diabetic mice, making famsin a potential therapeutic target for treating diabetes.
The researchers concluded their study demonstrates the communication between the intestines and other organs by a famsin-OLFR796 signaling, critical to metabolic adaptations to fasting. ■