Free fatty acid receptors act as nutrient sensors to regulate energy homeostasis

Atsuhiko Ichimura, Akira Hirasawa, Takafumi Hara, Gozoh Tsujimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)


Free fatty acids (FFAs) have been demonstrated to act as ligands of several G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) (FFAR1, FFAR2, FFAR3, GPR84, and GPR120). These fatty acid receptors are proposed to play critical roles in a variety of types of physiological homeostasis. FFAR1 and GPR120 are activated by medium- and long-chain FFAs. GPR84 is activated by medium-chain, but not long-chain, FFAs. In contrast, FFAR2 and FFAR3 are activated by short-chain FFAs. FFAR1 is expressed mainly in pancreatic β-cells and mediates insulin secretion, whereas GPR120 is expressed abundantly in the intestine and promotes the secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). FFAR3 is expressed in enteroendocrine cells and regulates host energy balance through effects that are dependent upon the gut microbiota. In this review, we summarize the identification, structure, and pharmacology of these receptors and present an essential overview of the current understanding of their physiological roles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-88
Number of pages7
JournalProstaglandins and Other Lipid Mediators
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Sep
Externally publishedYes


  • FFAR1
  • FFAR2
  • FFAR3
  • Free fatty acid
  • G-protein-coupled receptor
  • GPR120
  • Insulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Free fatty acid receptors act as nutrient sensors to regulate energy homeostasis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this